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20th Century "Streamflow Droughts" in Europe
Hisdal, H., Stahl, K., Tallaksen, L.M. and Demuth, S.  2001.  Have streamflow droughts in Europe become more severe or frequent?  International Journal of Climatology 21: 317-333.

What was done
Noting that "the media often reflect the view that recent severe drought events are signs that the climate has in fact already changed owing to human impacts," the authors examine what the data show for Europe.  Specifically, they performed a series of statistical analyses on more than 600 daily stremflow records from the European Water Archive to examine trends in the severity, duration and frequency of drought over the following four time periods: 1962-1990, 1962-1995, 1930-1995, and 1911-1995.

What was learned
According to the authors, "despite several reports on recent droughts in Europe, there is no clear indication that streamflow drought conditions in Europe have generally become more severe or frequent in the time periods studied."  To the contrary, they report that "overall, the number of negative significant trends pointing towards decreasing drought deficit volumes or fewer drought events exceeded the number of positive significant trends (increasing drought deficit volumes or more drought events)."

What it means
There is surely something rotten in more than Denmark when the media's portrayal of increasing drought in Europe is not supported by real-world data.  We wonder where they are getting their information, or misinformation. If this is what water shortages are all about - "decreasing drought deficit volumes and fewer drought events" - bring 'em on!  We all could use a little more such bad news.