Three centuries of Slovakian drought dynamics

U. Büntgen, R. Brázdil, D. Frank, J. Esper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Tree-ring data from Slovakia are used to reconstruct decadal-scale fluctuations of the self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI) over 1744-2006. The ring width chronology correlates at 0.58 (annual) and 0.88 (decadal) with regional-scale (48-50°N and 18-20°E) summer (June-August) scPDSI variations (1901-2002). Driest and wettest years common to the tree-ring and target data are 1947, 1948, 1964, and 1916, 1927, 1938, 1941, respectively. The model indicates decadal-scale drought ~1780-1810, 1850-1870, 1940-1960, and during the late twentieth century. The wettest period occurred ~1745-1775. Instrumental measurements and documentary evidence allow the reconstructed drought extremes to be verified and also provide additional insights on associated synoptic drivers and socioeconomic impacts. Comparison of anomalous dry conditions with European-scale fields of 500 hPa geopotential height retains positive pressure anomalies centered over Central Europe leading to atmospheric stability, subsidence and dry conditions. Negative mid-tropospheric geopotential height anomalies over Western Europe are connected with anomalous wet conditions over Slovakia. Nine existing, annually resolved hydro-climatic reconstructions from Central Europe, which were herein considered for comparison with the Slovakian findings, reveal significant high- to low-frequency coherency among the majority of records. Differences between the Slovakian and the other reconstructions are most evident at the end of the nineteenth century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Documentary evidence
  • Drought
  • Synoptic pattern
  • Tree-ring width

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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