Weather is the primary driver or trigger of droughts, via precipitation deficits and/or excessive evapotranspiration, that can lead to a drying at the land surface. In the UK, the most severe drought in the past few decades took place in 1975-1976. Other, more recent drought include 1990-1992, 1995-1997, 2003 and 2010-2012.

The limited number of droughts in the observational record hampers accurate quantification of the probabilities associated with various types of droughts. In MaRIUS, a reconstruction of past weather back to 1850 and a large number of drought events are generated with a climate model for present and future conditions to provide a wide range of plausible drought events based on which to assess possible drought management and planning options. These meteorological drought events are then fed into various hydrological and impact models to allow for a more accurate quantification of drought risk. In addition, these datasets are used to investigate the large-scale drivers of drought, such as sea surface temperatures.

Specific findings

You can find information about the contribution of the MaRIUS climate team to the project, and specific findings and results at the following links:

The climate research team

The following researchers have been involved in the MaRIUS project:

Dr Benoit Guillod
Prof Richard Jones
Prof Myles Allen
Dr Friederike Otto 
Luke Harrington
Dr Neil Massey
David Hein
Dr Laura Burgin


Guillod, B. P., Jones, R. G., Dadson, S. J., Coxon, G., Bussi, G., Freer, J., Kay, A. L., Massey, N. R., Sparrow, S. N., Wallom, D. C. H., Allen, M. R., and Hall, J. W.: A large set of potential past, present and future hydro-meteorological time series for the UK, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,doi:10.5194/hess-2017-246, in review, 2017

Guillod, B., Massey, N., Otto, F., Allen, M., Jones, R. and Hall, J. (2016) Synthetic drought event sets: thousands of meteorological drought events for risk-based management under present and future conditions. EGU General Assembly 2016, held 17-22 April, 2016 in Vienna Austria.

Guillod B, Bowery A, Haustein K, Jones R, Massey N, Mitchell D, Allen M. (2016). weather@home 2: validation of an improved global-regional climate modelling system. Geoscientific Model Development Discussions, pp. 1-37. DOI: 10.5194/gmd-2016-239

Guillod, B., Andy Bowery, Karsten Haustein, Richard G. Jones, Neil R. Massey, Daniel M. Mitchell, Friederike E. L. Otto, Sarah N. Sparrow, Peter Uhe, David C. H. Wallom, Simon Wilson, and Myles R. Allen 2016 ‘Weather@home: validation of an improved global-regional climate modelling system’.  Geoscientific Model Development  doi:10.5194/gmd-2016-239

Massey, N., Allen, M. and Hall, J. (2016) Large Ensembles of Regional Climate Projections. EGU General Assembly 2016, held 17-22 April, 2016 in Vienna Austria.


The MaRIUS climate datasets & ‘Drought Event Sets’   Dr Benoit Guillod explains the creation of the Drought Event sets in the MaRIUS project, which will assist the exploration of a wider range of droughts than have been experienced in the past; their impact and the risk of their occurrence.

Western US drought attribution, and the generation of synthetic multi-year UK drought events for risk-based impact studies  Dr Guillod talks about the climatic factors influencing drought, the Weather @ Home citizen science approach devised to examine climatic impacts, with a focus on the Western US drought and the research being undertaken in the MaRIUS project.