Australian rivers have been strongly affected by droughts over the past decades. The recent millennium drought (2001-2009) in the southeast was one of the most severe drought events that hit this country. Such a drought event is a natural disaster that has severe impacts on ecosystems, economy, and society. A deficit of precipitation often triggers the start of a streamflow drought. However, not every catchment is similarly sensitive to this lack of precipitation, e.g., catchments without any water storage in groundwater or lakes will be more affected by a short term precipitation deficits whereas other catchments with a lot of storage are likely to be hardly affected. The question is how the variable climatic and catchment properties in Australia influence streamflow drought characteristics and the drought propagation from precipitation to streamflow.
The aim of this thesis is to (1) test several methods to identify streamflow droughts in Australia (2) investigate which parts of Australia experience the most severe streamflow drought events (3) find out what the influences are of different climatic and catchment properties on drought characteristics (such as duration and severity) and the propagation of drought.
- Dataset of Australian streamflow records and metadata.
- Testing different streamflow drought identification methods for a set of Australian streamflow records and comparing drought characteristics like duration, severity and propagation for basins with different climatic and catchment properties.
- programming skills (R, MATLAB or other)
Kerstin Stahl, Erik Tijdeman
The study will be conducted within the international DrIVER project (www.drought.uni-freiburg.de)