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Correlation analysis between drought indices and terrestrial water storage from 2002 to 2015 in China

Zhang, Yajie, Li, Yao, Ge, Jing, Li, Gaopeng, Yu, Zhisheng, Niu, Haishan
Environmental earth sciences 2018 v.77 no.12 pp. 462
atmospheric precipitation, climate, correlation, data collection, drought, environmental monitoring, evapotranspiration, remote sensing, soil water, soil water balance, water storage, watersheds, China
Drought monitoring is a key topic in environmental monitoring and assessment although there is still a need to determine the correlation between drought monitoring indices and remote sensing products. We analyzed the correlation between the self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (sc_PDSI), the Standardized Precipitation Index and the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and terrestrial water storage monitored through the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) on a monthly timescale from 2002 to 2015 in China. As a consequence of anomalies in the soil water budget, the highly significant correlation between the sc_PDSI and the GRACE satellite-observed terrestrial water storage suggested that these two datasets are the most suitable for use in monitoring droughts. In comparing the three drought indices, the sc_PDSI was introduced as a means of drought monitoring in the Yangtze, Pearl, Huaihe, Southeast and Songhua River Basins, whereas the SPEI was found to be more applicable to other major river basins, such as the Inland River Basin. These diverse spatial behaviors are caused by the differences between the hydrological droughts characterized by these three drought indices.