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A Global Drought and Flood Catalogue from 1950 to 2016

floods global near-surface air temperature near-surface specific humidity netcdf precipitation


Hydrological extremes, in the form of droughts and floods, have impacts on a wide range of sectors including water availability, food security, and energy production, among others. Given continuing large impacts of droughts and floods and the expectation for significant regional changes projected in the future, there is an urgent need to provide estimates of past events and their future risk, globally. However, current estimates of hydrological extremes are not robust and accurate enough, due to lack of long-term data records, standardized methods for event identification, geographical inconsistencies and data uncertainties. To tackle these challenges, we develop the first Global Drought and Flood Catalogue (GDFC) [He et al., 2020] for 1950-2016 by merging the latest in situ and remote-sensing datasets with state-of-the-art land surface and hydrodynamic modeling to provide a continuous and consistent estimate of the terrestrial water cycle and its extremes. This GDFC also includes an unprecedented level of detailed analysis of drought and large-scale flood events using a multivariate risk assessment framework, which incorporates regional spatial-temporal characteristics (i.e., duration, spatial extent, severity) and global hazard maps for different return periods. This catalogue forms a basis for analyzing the changing risk of droughts and floods and can underscore national and international climate change assessments and provide a key reference for climate change studies and climate model evaluations.

Update Frequency

No future updates planned.


GDFC archive is made available under CC BY-SA 4.0.


Managed By


See all datasets managed by PREP-NexT Lab.


For any questions regrading dataset, email Professor Xiaogang He at

How to Cite

A Global Drought and Flood Catalogue from 1950 to 2016 was accessed on DATE from He, X., M. Pan, Z. Wei, E. F. Wood, and J. Sheffield (2020), A Global Drought and Flood Catalogue from 1950 to 2016. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0269.1

Usage Examples


Resources on AWS

  • Description
    Global Drought and Flood Catalogue from 1950 to 2016 archive. Files are in netcdf and csv format. The GDFC delivers relevant products, including continental drought and pluvial catalogues, global-scale drought and flood (pluvial and fluvial) risk maps, long-term meteorological and agricultural standardized indices, underlying meteorological forcings and land surface hydrological fluxes and states. More details please refer to this link.
    Resource type
    S3 Bucket
    Amazon Resource Name (ARN)
    AWS Region
    AWS CLI Access (No AWS account required)
    aws s3 ls --no-sign-request s3://global-drought-flood-catalogue/
    Browse Bucket

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