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INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION 79.6. INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION 79.6.1. Development of Drought Indices

INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION

INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION 79.6. INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION 79.6.1. Development of Drought Indices

79.6. INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION

CHARACTERIZATION 79.6. INDICES FOR DROUGHT CHARACTERIZATION 79.6.1. Development of Drought Indices Drought indices

79.6.1. Development of Drought Indices

Drought indices facilitate the quantification of the water supply and demand series of relevance to a particular case or region under study, given the available information, because they summarize in a single value the influence of several variables representative of the status of a particular system (Hayes, 2006). In addition, they provide a general overview in drought analysis and communication to the general public as they allow overcoming some difficulties associated with the statistical analysis of hydrometeorological information (Zargar et al., 2011). On the other hand, Paulo and Pereria (2006) point out that the characterization of droughts using indices is controversial and often contradictory, as it depends on the selected indices, the perception of what a drought is and the objectives of the characterization. Thus, there is no unanimity regarding the most appropriate index for drought characterization. For these reasons, a large number of indices have been proposed, which are oriented both for general studies and also for special situations depending on the type of drought, the available information, the time scale of the study, among other factors (Mishra and Sing, 2010). Niemeyer (2008) discusses more than 150 drought indices, while Zargar et al. (2011) describes 74 of them. Furthermore, new indices are constantly been proposed based upon recent technological advances (e.g., Karamouz et al., 2009; Rhee et al., 2010; Vicente-Serrano et al., 2010; Cai et al., 2011). From an operational standpoint Zargar et al. (2011) mention that the use of drought indices, together with the theory of runs, facilitates the communication of drought conditions to interested entities, stakeholders, and the general public. In particular, real-time monitoring, early detection of drought, the identification of its beginning and end, and determination of its severity becomes simpler and

clearer when using these indices. Thus, water managers and decision makers can act in a more proactive manner and adopt better mitigation measures. Indeed, Tsakaris et al. (2007) highlight that drought characterization using indices must

be associated with a clear definition of drought that is relevant and of interest to

a region in particular, and should allow linking the quantifiable impacts of drought with the corresponding value of the index.

of drought with the corresponding value of the index. 79.6.2. Basic Notions to Apply Drought Indices

79.6.2. Basic Notions to Apply Drought Indices

A drought index generally permits measuring the deviation with respect to normal

conditions, or normal demand, of a variable representing the historical water supply (Dai, 2011). Therefore, an essential aspect when representing demand is the threshold which defines the severity of the droughts. This should be related with the proportion of nonsatisfied demand or with the damages it can provoke. The stochastic analysis of the behavior of the time series delivers information regarding the probability of occurrence of a drought and the corresponding risk, which makes the statistical behavior of the index important as well as the selection of the thresholds so as to identify the beginning and end of a drought (Tsakiris et al., 2007).

The most commonly used time scale in drought indices is the annual, which allows determining a general behavior at a regional level. However, this scale is not very appropriate for monitoring drought and decision making, and thus a monthly temporal scale is more convenient, particularly to identify in a more precise manner the beginning and end of droughts. Nonetheless, for time scales finer than the annual, the series becomes nonstationary and phenomena that are proper of the hydrological cycle are noticeable, such as periodicity, intermittence, asymmetry, significant dependence, etc. (Panu and Sharma, 2002; Mishra and Singh, 2010).

The majority of the indices consider precipitation as the best indicator of the water supply to the system, while the demand is represented by a threshold value of this same variable. Alternatively, this demand can be defined in terms of atmospheric variables generally related to temperature, or evaportranspiration. Some indices even consider a comprehensive water budget for the system. In some highly complex systems, this budget-relating supply and demand can be very difficult to define, as a large number of very system-specific variables are needed (Suarez et al., 2014). Moreover, most of the indices and their threshold

values are defined according to historic climate conditions, and thus it is necessary to revise them when considering future conditions, which may be affected by climate change or other anthropogenic changes (Dai, 2011).

79.6.3. Classifications of Indices

changes (Dai, 2011). 79.6.3. Classifications of Indices The variables to be used in the indices depend

The variables to be used in the indices depend on the type of drought or its impacts as well as the objectives pursued by the characterization. For instance, precipitation is the most common variable used to characterize meteorological droughts through indices, allowing the focus mainly on early drought manifestations. Some of the indices using only precipitation are the Rainfall Anomaly Index (Van-Rooy, 1965), the Bhalme and Mooly Drought Index (Bhalme and Mooley, 1980), the Drought Severity Index (Bryant et al., 1992), the National Rainfall Index (Gommes and Petrassi, 1994), the Effective Drought Index (Byun and Wilhite, 1999), and the Drought Frequency Index (González and Valdés, 2006). One the most utilized precipitation-based index is the Standardized Precipitation Index, SPI (McKee et al., 1993; NDMC, 2015), which can be applied at various temporal scales and is used in drought monitoring. To include the effects of the demand, or the impact of meteorological drought, other variables have been included in these indices. For example, temperature or evapotranspiration are incorporated in the Reconnaissance Drought Index, RDI (Tsakaris and Vangelis, 2005) and the Standard Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index, SPEI (Vicente-Serrano et al., 2010).

For hydrological drought, indices also incorporate streamflows, and water levels in reservoirs and lakes, among others. The well-knonw Palmer Hydrological Drought Index, PHDI (Palmer, 1965) considers precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, recharge, and soil moisture. To incorporate the effects of snow, Shafer and Dezman (1982) developed the Surface Water Supply Index, SWSI. Weghorst (1996) proposes the Reclamation Drought Index, which is similar to SWSI, but incorporates temperature so as to consider the water demands. Stahl (2001) adopts the Regional Streamflow Deficiency Index, RSDI, which uses low-flows at various flow gauges in a homogenous region.

The agricultural sector is evidently one of the most affected by the water shortage, and thus a number of indices have been developed to characterize agricultural droughts. These indices attempt to quantify the water available for the plant by combining precipitation, temperature, and humidity. Among these indices is the Relative Soil Moisture (Thornthwaite and Mather, 1955), the Crop Moisture Index (Palmer, 1968), which is similar to the Palmer Drought Severity

Index, PDSI (Palmer, 1965), but it only considers the top layer of the soil (Byun and Wilhite, 1999; Narasimhan and Srinivasan, 2005), and the Crop Specific Drought Index (Meyer et al., 1993), originally developed for corn and soybeans (Meyer and Hubbard, 1995).

developed for corn and soybeans (Meyer and Hubbard, 1995). 79.6.4. Summary of Drought Indices The indices

79.6.4. Summary of Drought Indices

The indices previously described correspond to a small sample of a large variety of indices proposed in the literature. Typically, new indices are developed based on available information, regional characteristics, and the effects and impacts of droughts which are under study. On the other hand, several studies describe and compare a variety of these indices (e.g., Keyantash and Dracup, 2002; Hayes, 2006; Dai, 2011; Zargar et al., 2011; Mishra and Singh, 2010). Table 79.1 presents some of the existing drought indices along with their main properties (i.e., type of drought characterized by the index, input information, and temporal and spatial scales involved, strengths, and drawbacks).

and spatial scales involved, strengths, and drawbacks). Table 79.1. Drought Indices Commonly Used for Planning,

Table 79.1. Drought Indices Commonly Used for Planning, Managing, and Monitoring Water Resources

Indices

Properties

Strengths

Drawbacks

Percent of normal (Heim, 2002)

Type:

 

Very simple and easy to understand and communicate.

Not applicable f non-normal variables. Cann be used for comparisons across seasons regions.

Meteorological Data needed:

 
 

Precipitation Temporal scale:

 

Month to year Spatial scale: Point

Rainfall deciles (Mpelasoka et al.,

2008)

Type:

 

It delivers information about risks. It can be applied regionally.

It does not consider other variables. Requ long records for thresholds definition.

Meteorological Data needed:

 
 

Precipitation Temporal scale:

Month to year

   

Spatial scale: Point

 

to

regional

 

SPI, Standardized Precipitation Index K

(M

t

l

Type:

 

Used for different time scales and

l

t

d t

It requires long- term records. N id

ti

Meteorological

D

t

d

d

L

a .,

1993) Indices

c

ee e

e records Properties of

a a nee

:

ong

re a e

probability. Strengths

o

cons

evapotranspirat Drawbacks

era

on o

precipitation

Temporal scale:

 

Month to year

Spatial scale: Point

to regional

SPEI, Standardized

Type:

Sensitive to long-

Calculation of P

Precipitation

Meteorological

 

term trends in

can be

Evapotranspiration

Data needed:

temperature

complicated.

Index (Vicente-

Precipitation,

change. It

Serrano et al.,

temperature, and

considers water

2010)

 

evapotranspiration

balance and

 

Temporal scale:

 

evapotranspiration.

Multiple, weekly,

or monthly Spatial

scale: Regional

 

PDSI, Palmer

Type: Agricultural

More

Calibrated for U

Drought Severity

Data needed:

comprehensive

Great Plains'

Index (Palmer,

Precipitation,

than indices based

conditions. Limi

1965)

 

temperature, and

only on

applicability in

 

water supply

precipitation. PET

locations with

Temporal scale:

 

and soil moisture

climatic extrem

Month to year

are also

mountainous

Spatial scale:

considered.

terrain, or snow

Agricultural

packs unless

regions

calibrated.

 

CMI, Crop Moisture

Type: Agricultural

It is very suitable

It applicability f

Index (Palmer,

Data needed:

for the prediction

the prediction o

1968)

 

Precipitation,

of short-term

long-term drou

 

temperature

droughts.

is very low. CMI

Temporal scale:

 

can only be use

Weekly Spatial

the growing

scale: Regional

season; it is not

 

suitable for win

drought

 

predictions.

Remote data-collection systems have incorporated new sensors and algorithms, which allows improving the quality of the information used in drought characterization. In particular, the spatial resolution at which vegetation, soil moisture, and other Earth's surface properties are measured have enhanced (Niemayer, 2008; Choi et al., 2013). Drought indices based upon remote data are diverse, and new indices are frequently being proposed. While the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NDVI has remained as the one most utilized, other such as the Vegetation Condition Index (Kogan, 1990), the Temperature Condition Index, and the Vegetation Health Index, VHI (Kogan, 1995) are used operationally (NOAA, 2011; NDMC, 2015). Another index based on remote data is the Normalized Difference Water Index (Gao, 1996), which is complimentary to the NDVI and includes estimation of water content based on physical principles. Typical measurements used by indices based on remote perception include near- and short-wave infrared bands (NIR and SWIR, respectively), as well as the Land Surface Temperature (LST) (Lambin and Ehrlich, 1995; Prihodko and Goward, 1997; Wang et al., 2001; Wan et al., 2004; Rhee et al., 2010; Cai et al., 2011). Moreover, thermal infrared (TIR) can be used to obtain an effective estimate of water stress in many vegetation ecosystems (Moran, 2003). For example, the VHI uses TIR to monitor the increase in the temperature of the vegetation cover when plants are subject to water stress (Kogan, 1997; Choi et al., 2013). Table 79.2 summarizes some drought indices that are based on data from satellite source and their main characteristics.

data from satellite source and their main characteristics. Table 79.2. Characteristics of Indices Based on Remote

Table 79.2. Characteristics of Indices Based on Remote Data Collection

Indices

Properties

Strengths

Drawbacks

NDVI, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (Ji and Peters,

2003)

Type: Ecological and agricultural Data needed:

Multiband satellite images Temporal scale:

Image dependent Spatial scale:

Simple to

Cloud, seasonal smoke, aerosols, etc. can contaminate the pixels. In wet conditions, the reflectance may not be equal in the two bands.

calculate.

 

Image dependent

TCI, Temperature Condition Index (Kogan, 1995)

Type: Ecological and agricultural Data needed:

Brightness and

Simple to

It only depends on the temperature of the air and does

calculate.

Indices

temperature Properties

Strengths

not Drawbacks consider

Temporal scale:

other variables.

Weekly, monthly

Spatial scale:

Image dependent

VCI, Vegetation

Type: Ecological

Simple to

Atmospheric

Condition Index

and agricultural

calculate. It takes

interference, soil

(Kogan, 1990)

Data needed:

into account the

condition effects

NDVI

vegetation

(wet), anisotropy.

Temporal scale:

conditions of the

Weekly, monthly

entire series

Spatial scale:

studied.

Point to regional

VHI, Vegetation

Type: Ecological

Simple to

It depends on the

Health Index

and agricultural

calculate. It takes

atmospheric

(Kogan, 1995)

Data needed: TCI

into account the

conditions.

and VCI

vegetation

Temporal scale:

conditions of the

Weekly, monthly

entire series

scale (image

studied and the

dependent)

temperature

Spatial scale:

applying a factor

Point to regional

to each one of

these factors.

NDWI,

Type: Ecological

Calculates the

It depends on the

Normalized

and agricultural

water content in

atmospheric

Difference Water

Data needed:

the vegetation,

conditions.

Index (Gao,

NIR, SWIR

which

1996)

Temporal scale:

complements

Weekly, monthly

NDVI.

Spatial scale:

Image

dependent,

point to regional

During the current century, a generation of indices, known as combined indices, hybrid, or aggregate indices, have appeared. These indices attempt to incorporate and use as much as possible available information of all types (Zargar et al., 2011). These indices typically combine traditional meteorological information and remote sensing data that characterize the earth surface. A good example of this is the Vegetation Drought Response Index (Brown et al., 2008), which combines NDVI with indices obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, or the Percent Average Seasonal Greenness, and the Start Season Anomaly, which are based on other classical drought indices such as the SPI or the PDSI, calculated from meteorological records (Niemeyer, 2008; Zargar et el., 2011). Other combined indices include the RSDI (Stahl, 2001), the Aggregate Drought Index (Keyantash and Dracup, 2004), the Soil Moisture Deficit Index and the Evapotranspiration Deficit Index (Narasimhan and Srinivasan, 2005), the RDI (Tsakiris and Vangelis, 2005), the SPEI (Vicente-Serrano et al., 2010), the Modified Perpendicular Drought Index (Ghulam et al., 2007), the Normalized Multi-Band Drought Index (Wang and Qu, 2007), and the Hybrid Drought Index (Karamouz et al., 2009). Table 79.3 summarizes the main characteristics of some of these indices.

the main characteristics of some of these indices. Table 79.3. Characteristics of New, Combined or Aggregate

Table 79.3. Characteristics of New, Combined or Aggregate Drought Indices

Indices

Properties

Strengths

Drawbacks

SWSI, Surface Water Supply Index (Shafer and Dezman, 1982)

Type: Hydrological Data needed:

Simple calculation. It includes water management. It considers snowpack and water storage.

It does not represent extreme events well. Interbasin comparisons are not possible or drought analysis on a global scale.

Precipitation, temperature, stream flow, snow pack, remote sensing Temporal scale:

 

Monthly Spatial scale: River basin

 

RDI, Reclamation Drought Index (Weghorst, 1996)

Type: Hydrological Data needed:

Created for the operational detection of drought events and for the

RDI behaves more slowly even compared to the PHDI.

Precipitation, temperature, stream flow, snow

Indices

pack, Properties remote

triggering Strengths of

Drawbacks

sensing

relief.

Temporal scale:

Monthly

Spatial scale: River

basin

VegDRI,

Type: Hydrological

Provides near-

It is necessary

Vegetation

Data needed:

real-time maps

to combine

Drought Response

NDVI, SPI, and PDSI

of drought

NDVI, SPI and

Index (Brown et

Temporal scale:

severity and

PDSI.

al., 2008)

Monthly to annual

spatial extent.

Spatial scale:

Depends on the

satellite imagery

RSDI, Regional

Type: Hydrological

The RDI series

Several

Streamflow

Data needed:

include the

homogenous

Deficiency Index

Streamflow,

spatial

basins affected

(Sthal, 2001)

remote sensing

dimension in the

by hydrological

(gridded circulation

definition of

droughts are

patterns and

severe dry

necessary.

circulation indices)

periods.

Temporal scale:

Relations and

Daily

comparisons

Spatial scale:

between regions

Region (cluster in

are possible.

homogeneous

zones)

ADI, Aggregate

Type: Hydrological

Considers all

Much data are

Drought Index

Data needed:

physical forms

required for it

(Keyantash and

Precipitation,

of drought.

calculation.

Dracup, 2004)

streamflow,

Principal

reservoir storage,

component

evapotranspiration,

analysis is used

soil moisture, and

to extract

snow water

dominant

content

hydrologic

Temporal scale:

signals. Direct

Monthly

mathematical

Indices

Spatial scale:

Properties

Regional

formulation.

Strengths

Drawbacks

SMDI, Soil

Type: Hydrological

SMDI and ETDI

It is difficult to

Moisture Deficit

Data needed: Soil

use a high-

calculate the

Index, and ETDI,

moisture,

resolution

historical soil

Evapotranspiration

(originally

comprehensive

moisture. NDVI

Deficit Index

simulated using

hydrologic

or hydrological

(Narasimhan and

SWAT model)/ET

model that

models can be

Srinivasan, 2005)

Temporal scale:

incorporates a

used, but a

Weekly

crop growth

great deal of

Spatial scale: High

model. ETDI and

data and

spatial resolution

SMDI could be

calculated

good indicators

variables are

of short-term

required. The

agricultural

data supplied

droughts.

by the satellite

imagery can be

affected by

clouds and

other

conditions.

Citation

Vijay P. Singh, Ph.D., D.Sc., D. Eng. (Hon.), Ph.D. (Hon.), D. Sc. (Hon.), P.E., P.H.,

Hon. D. WRE, Academician (GFA): Handbook of Applied Hydrology, Second

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