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The Central European drought of 1947: causes and consequences, with particular reference to the Czech Lands

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Rok publikování 2016
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Climate Research
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Přírodovědecká fakulta

Obor Vědy o atmosféře, meteorologie
Klíčová slova 1947 drought; meteorological drought; hydrological drought; agricultural drought; drought impact; socio-economic responses; Czech Lands
Popis A drought of exceptional severity took place in Central Europe in 1947, with marked socio-economic consequences and far-reaching political responses in the Czech Lands. A rich body of meteorological observations from the Czech Lands is drawn upon to construct a comprehensive picture of the various direct and indirect factors that led to this extreme event and to describe its impacts across a range of spatiotemporal scales. In terms of the Czech Lands in their entirety and the full 1804-2014 period of instrumental measurements, the 1947 drought, which lasted from April to October, may be expressed as very low monthly values of Standardised Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index for 1 month (SPEI-1), Standardised Precipitation Index for 1 month (SPI-1), and Palmer’s Z-index. Independent evidence from mean monthly patterns of sealevel pressure suggests it originated in an anticyclone over Central Europe and ridges of high pressure extending over the area. Duration and deficiency volumes recorded at selected Czech hydrological stations indicate that the 1947 event was one of the 3 most important hydrologic drought episodes since the late 1880s. Severe agricultural drought was reflected in a low to extremely bad harvest of cereals and other agricultural crops. A critical lack of cereals was remedied by ‘brotherly help’, i.e. relief shipments from the Soviet Union given for reasons that were far more political than altruistic. The whole process received considerable attention in the national media, influencing public opinion for decades. It also led to various administrative responses and decisions at local, regional and even state levels. This study demonstrates that the 1947 drought was a significant climatic anomaly of great spatial extent, and with wide-ranging socio-economic consequences.
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