Drought sensitivity characteristics and relationships between drought indices over Upper Blue Nile basin

Abstract

Drought is an extreme event that causes great economic and environmental damage. The main objective of this study is to evaluate sensitivity, characterization and propagation of drought in the Upper Blue Nile. Drought indices: standardized precipitation index (SPI) and the recently developed standardized reconnaissance drought index (RDIst) are applied for five weather stations from 1980 to 2015 to evaluate RDIst applicability in the Upper Blue Nile. From our analysis both SPI and RDIst applied for 3-, 6-, 12 month of time scales follow the same trend, but in some time steps the RDIst varies with smaller amplitude than SPI. The severity and longer duration of drought compared with others periods of meteorological drought is found in the years 1984, 2002, 2009, 2015 including five weather stations and entire Upper Blue Nile. For drought relationships the correlation analysis is made across the time scales to evaluate the relationship between meteorological drought (SPI), soil moisture drought (SMI), and hydrological drought (SRI). We found that the correlation between three indices (SPI, SMI and SRI) at different time scales the 24-month time scale is dominant and are given by 0.82, 0.63 and 0.56.

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