The terrestrial and oceanic origins of precipitation over 50 major river basins worldwide were investigated for the period 1980–2018. For this purpose, we used a Lagrangian approximation that calculates the humidity that results in precipitation from the entire ocean area (ocean component of the precipitation, PLO) and the entire land area (land component, PLT) as well as the sum of both components (Lagrangian precipitation, PL). PL and its components were highly correlated with precipitation over the basins, where PLT accounted for >50 % of the PL in most of them. This confirmed the importance assigned by previous studies to terrestrial recycling of precipitation and moisture transport within the continents. However, the amount of PLO in almost all North American river basins was highlighted. The assessment of drought conditions through the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) at a temporal scale of 1- and 3-months revealed the number of drought episodes that affected each river basin, especially the Amazon, Congo, and Nile, because of the lower number of episodes but higher average severity and duration. A direct relationship between the severity of drought episodes and the respective severity computed on the oceanic and terrestrial SPI series was also found for the majority of basins. This highlights the influence of the severity of the SPI of oceanic origin for most basins in North America. However, for certain basins, we found an inverse relationship between the severity of drought and the associated severity according to the SPI of oceanic or terrestrial origin, thus highlighting the principal drought attribution. Additionally, a copula analysis provided new information that illustrates the estimated conditional probability of drought for each river basin in relation to the occurrence of drought conditions of oceanic or terrestrial origin, which revealed the possible main driver of drought severity in each river basin.
Keywords: Precipitation origin; Lagrangian precipitation; River basins; Drought