Observation-based gridded runoff estimates for Europe (E-RUN version 1.1)
Abstract. River runoff is an essential climate variable as it is directly linked to the terrestrial water balance and controls a wide range of climatological and ecological processes. Despite its scientific and societal importance, there are to date no pan-European observation-based runoff estimates available. Here we employ a recently developed methodology to estimate monthly runoff rates on regular spatial grid in Europe. For this we first assemble an unprecedented collection of river flow observations, combining information from three distinct databases. Observed monthly runoff rates are subsequently tested for homogeneity and then related to gridded atmospheric variables (E-OBS version 12) using machine learning. The resulting statistical model is then used to estimate monthly runoff rates (December 1950–December 2015) on a 0.5° × 0.5° grid. The performance of the newly derived runoff estimates is assessed in terms of cross validation. The paper closes with example applications, illustrating the potential of the new runoff estimates for climatological assessments and drought monitoring. The newly derived data are made publicly available at doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.861371.