Czech Drought Monitor System for monitoring and forecasting agricultural drought and drought impacts

Miroslav Trnka, Petr Hlavinka, Martin Možný, Daniela Semerádová, Petr Štěpánek, Jan Balek, Lenka Bartošová, Pavel Zahradníček, Monika Bláhová, Petr Skalák, Aleš Farda, Michael Hayes, Mark Svoboda, Wolfgang Wagner, Josef Eitzinger, Milan Fischer, Zdeněk Žalud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The awareness of drought and its impacts on Central Europe increased after the significant drought episodes in 2000, 2003, 2012 and 2015, which were all estimated to have caused over 500 million Euro in damage in the Czech Republic alone. These events indicated the need for timely and high-resolution monitoring tools that would enable analysing, monitoring and forecasting of drought events. Monitoring soil water availability in near real time and at high-resolution (up to 0.5 × 0.5 km for some products) helps farmers and water managers to mitigate impacts of these extreme events. The Czech Drought Monitor was developed between 2012 and 2014 and has since been operational as an online platform. It uses an operational modelling system that consists of four pillars: (a) weekly soil moisture estimates based on spaceborne Advanced Scatterometer sensor measurements; (b) the daily SoilClim soil moisture model, which runs based on high-density network data from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute with a 55-year reference period; (c) weekly reports on vegetation condition, which is deduced from satellite-based vegetation indices and early warnings of imminent drought impacts; and (d) weekly reports of soil moisture, especially after drought impacts, which are provided by dozens of experts. Since 2016 the drought forecast (+9 days) has been released daily based on an ensemble of five numerical weather prediction models combined with a weekly drought outlook (+2 months). The analysis of four recent episodes (2000, 2003, 2012 and 2015) clearly showed that both large-scale and regionally restrained drought episodes posed serious risks in terms of their impacts and damage. Comparisons with historical droughts showed that these events, especially the 2000, 2003 and 2015 events, were among the top five drought episodes in the June–August period observed in the Czech Republic since 1961 in terms of spatial extent, magnitude and duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5941-5958
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Nov 30 2020


  • SoilClim
  • drought impact reporters
  • extreme events
  • microwave radar
  • remote sensing
  • soil moisture modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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