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Comparison of various drought indices to monitor drought status in Pakistan

Adnan, Shahzada, Ullah, Kalim, Shuanglin, Li, Gao, Shouting, Khan, Azmat Hayat, Mahmood, Rashed
Climate dynamics 2018 v.51 no.5-6 pp. 1885-1899
climate, drought, evapotranspiration, rain, risk management, soil water, statistical analysis, temperature, China, Pakistan
Various drought indices are normally used to monitor drought and its risk management. Precipitation, temperature and other hydro meteorological parameters are the essential parts to the identification of drought. For this purpose, several drought indices have been developed and are being used around the world. This study identifies the applicability and comparison of drought indices in Pakistan by evaluating the performance of 15 drought indices. The indices include standardized precipitation index (SPI), standardized precipitation temperature index, standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), China Z-Index, deciles index, modified CZI, Z-Score, rainfall variability index, standardized soil moisture anomaly index, weighted anomaly standardized precipitation index, percent of normal precipitation index, self-calibrated Palmer drought severity index, composite index, percentage area weighted departure and reconnaissance drought index (RDI). These indices are compared by utilizing long term data of 58 meteorological stations for the period 1951–2014. The performance, efficiency and significance are also tested by applying different statistical tests. The SPI, SPEI and RDI results showed a good capability to monitor drought status in Pakistan. The positive increasing trend (towards wetness) is noted by several of the aforementioned indices at 95% confidence level. In addition, historical drought years and intensity have been explored along with comparison of recent long episode of drought (1999–2002) and all the indices captured this period successfully.