Identification of droughts and heatwaves in Germany with regional climate networks

Schädler, Gerd; Breil, Marcus

Regional climate networks (RCNs) are used to identify heatwaves and droughts in Germany and two subregions for the summer half-years and summer seasons of the period 1951 to 2019. RCNs provide information for whole areas (in contrast to the point-wise information from standard indices), the underlying nodes can be distributed arbitrarily, they are easy to construct, and they provide details otherwise difficult to access, like temporal and spatial extent and localisation of extreme events; this makes them suitable for the statistical analysis of climate model output. The RCNs were constructed on the regular 0.25inline-formula grid of the E-OBS data set. The season-wise correlation of the time series of daily maximum temperature inline-formulaTmax and precipitation were used to construct the adjacency matrix of the networks. Based on the results of a sensitivity study, we used the edge density, which increases significantly during extreme events, as the main metrics to characterise the network structure. The standard indices for comparison were the Effective Drought Index and Effective Heat Index (EDI and EHI), respectively, based on the same time series and complemented by other published data. Our results show that the RCNs are generally able to identify severe and moderate extremes and can differentiate between regions and seasons.

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Schädler, Gerd / Breil, Marcus: Identification of droughts and heatwaves in Germany with regional climate networks. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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