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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 10917-10937; doi:10.3390/rs70810917

Use of the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) to Characterize the Drying Trend in Southwest China from 1982–2012

School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, No. 2006, Xiyuan Ave, West Hi-Tech Zone, Chengdu 611731, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Xuepeng Zhao, Wenze Yang, Alfredo R. Huete and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 14 July 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 24 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Climate Data Records and Applications)
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Abstract

In this study, the Standardized Precipitation Evaporation Index (SPEI) was applied to characterize the drought conditions in Southwest China from 1982–2012. The SPEI was calculated by precipitation and temperature data for various accumulation periods. Based on the SPEI, the multi-scale patterns, the trend, and the spatio-temporal extent of drought were evaluated, respectively. The results explicitly showed a drying trend of Southwest China. The mean SPEI values at five time scales all decreased significantly. Some moderate and severe droughts were captured after 2005 and the droughts were even getting aggravated. By examining the spatio-temporal extent, the aggravating condition of drought was further revealed. To investigate the performance of SPEI, correlation analysis was conducted between SPEI and two remotely sensed drought indices: Soil Moisture Condition Index (SMCI) and Vegetation Condition Index (VCI). The comparison was also conducted with the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The results showed that for both SMCI and VCI, the SPI and SPEI had approximate correlations with them. The SPEI could better monitor the soil moisture than the SPI in months with significant increase of temperature. The correlations between the VCI and SPI/SPEI were lower; nevertheless, the SPEI was slightly superior to the SPI. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; Standardized Precipitation Evaporation Index (SPEI); Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI); Vegetation Condition Index (VCI); Soil Moisture Condition Index (SMCI); trend analysis; Southwest China drought; Standardized Precipitation Evaporation Index (SPEI); Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI); Vegetation Condition Index (VCI); Soil Moisture Condition Index (SMCI); trend analysis; Southwest China
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, X.; He, B.; Quan, X.; Liao, Z.; Bai, X. Use of the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) to Characterize the Drying Trend in Southwest China from 1982–2012. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 10917-10937.

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