Tramblay, Y., Koutroulis, A., Samaniego, L., Vicente-Serrano, S. M., Volaire, F., Boone, A., … & Cailleret, M. (2020). Challenges for drought assessment in the Mediterranean region under future climate scenarios. Earth-Science Reviews, 103348.
Droughts can have strong environmental and socio-economic impacts in the Mediterranean region, in particular for countries relying on rain-fed agricultural production, but also in areas in which irrigation plays an important role and in which natural vegetation has been modified or is subject to water stress. The purpose of this review is to provide an assessment of the complexity of the drought phenomenon in the Mediterranean region and present various perspectives on drought in the present and under future climate change scenarios. The projections of various model experiments on future climate change scenarios strongly agree on an increased frequency and severity of droughts in the Mediterranean basin. Nevertheless, given the complexity of the phenomenon, with different types of droughts and complex interrelated impacts, significant future uncertainties remain. For example, uncertainties are stronger for hydrological droughts than meteorological droughts due to human influences and water withdrawal. Significant drought impacts are expected in the future, in particular for developing countries in the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean basin. To improve the resilience and adaptive capacities of societies and environments faced with drought, we aim to provide an overview of the key issues in research on climate change impacts on droughts, with a specific focus on the Mediterranean region, in order to: i) redefine more meaningful drought metrics tailored to the Mediterranean context, ii) better take into account vegetation and its feedback on droughts, iii) improve the modelling and forecasting of drought events through remote sensing and land surface models, and iv) promote a more integrated vision of droughts taking into account both water availability and water use. This overview reflects the complexity of the problem and the need to combine scientific research with adaptation solutions to deal with drought in the future.