09 Feb 2022
09 Feb 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A past, present and future perspective on the European summer vapour pressure deficit

Daniel Balting1, Simon Michel2, Viorica Nagavciuc1,3, Gerhard Helle4, Mandy Freund5, Gerhard H. Schleser6, David Steger7, Gerrit Lohmann1,8, and Monica Ionita1,9 Daniel Balting et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Bremerhaven, 27570, Germany
  • 2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU), Department of Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 3Faculty of Forestry, Ștefan cel Mare University, Suceava, 720229, Romania
  • 4German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, 14473, Germany
  • 5Climate and Energy College, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
  • 6Institute of Bio- and Geosciences IBG-3, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich 52428, Germany
  • 7Physics Department, University of Bremen, Bremen, 28359, Germany
  • 8Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin, 14195, Germany
  • 9Emil Racovita Institute of Speleology, Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca, 400006, Romania

Abstract. The response of evapotranspiration to anthropogenic warming is of critical importance to the water and carbon cycle. Con-flicting observations about changes of evapotranspiration stem mostly from the brevity of observations in time and space as well as a high degree of internal variability. Here we present the first gridded reconstruction of the European summer vapour pressure deficit (VPD) for the past four centuries. The gridded reconstruction is based on 26 European tree-ring oxygen iso-tope records and is performed using a Random Forest approach. Based on our reconstruction, we show that from the mid-1700s a trend towards higher VPD occurred in Central Europe and the Mediterranean region which is based on the simulta-neous increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation. This increasing VPD trend continues throughout the observation-al period and recent times. Climate model projections show this increase in VPD for the Mediterranean region continuing until the end of the 21st century, whereby the extent depends on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, pro-jected VPD in North and Central Europe shows a tendency towards higher VPD only in the highest emission scenario (the produced data is available here: (Balting, D. F. et al., 2022).

Daniel Balting et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-47', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Daniel Balting, 29 Jun 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-47', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Daniel Balting, 29 Jun 2022

Daniel Balting et al.

Data sets

A past, present and future perspective on the European summer vapour pressure deficit Balting, Daniel F.; Michel, Simon; Nagavciuc, Viorica; Helle, Gerhard; Freund, Mandy; Schleser, Gerhard H.; Steger, David N.; Lohmann, Gerrit; Ionita, Monica

Daniel Balting et al.


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Short summary
Vapor pressure deficit is a key component of vegetation dynamics, soil science, meteorology, and soil science. In this study, we reconstruct the variability of the vapor pressure deficit in the past and examine the changes in future scenarios using climate models. In this way, past, present and future changes of the vapor pressure deficit can be detected locally, regionally, and continentally with higher statistical significance.