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Evaluation of trends and predictability of short‐term droughts in three meteorological subdivisions of India using multivariate EMD‐based hybrid modelling

Adarsh, Sankaran, Janga Reddy, Manne
Hydrological processes 2019 v.33 no.1 pp. 130-143
atmospheric precipitation, data collection, drought, hydrology, models, prediction, regression analysis, India
This paper presented trend analysis of droughts in Kerala, Telangana, and Orissa meteorological subdivisions in India and proposed a framework for drought prediction by employing the Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)‐based prediction models. The study used 3‐month standardized precipitation index (SPI3) for drought analysis. The trend analysis of SPI3 series for the period 1871–2012 using Mann–Kendall method showed statistically significant increasing trend in Kerala and Telangana subdivisions and a decreasing trend in Orissa subdivision. In addition, the non‐linear trend component extracted from EMD showed statistically significant changes in all the three subdivisions. Then, the study proposed a hybrid approach for prediction of short‐term droughts by coupling multivariate extension of EMD (MEMD) with stepwise linear regression (SLR) and genetic programming (GP) methods. First, the multivariate dataset comprising the SPI3 series of current and lagged time steps are decomposed using the MEMD. Then, SLR/GP models are developed to predict each subseries of SPI3 of desired time step considering the subseries of predictor variables at the corresponding timescales as inputs. The resulting models at different timescales are recombined to obtain the SPI3 values of the desired time step. The method is applied for prediction of short‐term droughts in the three subdivisions. The results obtained by the hybrid models are compared with that obtained by conventional prediction models using M5 Model Trees and GP. The rigorous performance evaluation based on multiple statistical criteria clearly exhibited the superiority of the hybrid approaches (i.e., prediction models with MEMD‐based decomposition over models without decomposition) for prediction of SPI3 in three subdivisions. Further, the study found that MEMD‐GP model performs marginally better than the MEMD‐SLR model due to its efficacy in modelling high frequency modes.