Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 130, Issue 3–4, pp 901–916 | Cite as

Drought variability and change across the Iberian Peninsula

  • J.R. CollEmail author
  • E. Aguilar
  • L. Ashcroft
Original Paper


Drought variability and change was assessed across the Iberian Peninsula over more than 100 years expanding through the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Daily temperature and precipitation data from 24 Iberian time series were quality controlled and homogenized to create the Monthly Iberian Temperature and Precipitation Series (MITPS) for the period 1906–2010. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), driven only by precipitation, and the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), based on the difference between the precipitation and the reference evapotranspiration (ET0), were computed at annual and seasonal scale to describe the evolution of droughts across time. The results confirmed that a clear temperature increase has occurred over the entire Iberian Peninsula at the annual and seasonal scale, but no significant changes in precipitation accumulated amounts were found. Similar drought variability was provided by the SPI and SPEI, although the SPEI showed greater drought severity and larger surface area affected by drought than SPI from 1980s to 2010 due to the increase in atmospheric evaporative demand caused by increased temperatures. Moreover, a clear drying trend was found by the SPEI for most of the Iberian Peninsula at annual scale and also for spring and summer, although the SPI did not experience significant changes in drought conditions. From the drying trend identified for most of the Iberian Peninsula along the twentieth century, an increase in drought conditions can also be expected for this region in the twenty-first century according to future climate change projections and scenarios.


Iberian Peninsula Drought Severity Standardize Precipitation Index Drought Index Standardize Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is supported by the project “Determinación y ajuste del sesgo introducido por la automatización de las estaciones meteorológicas en las series climáticas; CGL2012-32193”, and it has been possible thanks to the project “CAFIDEXPI CGL2007-65546-C03-02-CLI”.

The daily data of Spanish stations are provided by AEMET (original and updated) as well as Maria Antonia Valente and Ricardo Trigo, from the Climatology and Climate Change Research Group of the Instituto Dom Luiz, Lisbon University, contributed on this study providing climatic daily data of Portugal.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Climate Change (C3), Geography DepartmentUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliTortosaSpain

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