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Monitoring and Assessment of Drought Focused on Its Impact on Sorghum Yield over Sudan by Using Meteorological Drought Indices for the Period 2001–2011

Key Laboratory of Digital Earth, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.9 Dengzhuang South Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100094, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(8), 1231;
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 22 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Drought Monitoring)
PDF [6245 KB, uploaded 6 August 2018]


Currently, the high-resolution satellite images in near real-time have gained more popularity for natural disaster detection due to the unavailability and difficulty of acquiring frequent ground observation data over a wide region. In Sudan, the occurrence of drought events is a predominant natural disaster that causes substantial damages to crop production. Therefore, monitoring drought and measuring its impact on the agricultural sector remain major concerns of policymakers. The current study focused on assessing and analyzing drought characteristics based on two meteorological drought indices, namely the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the Drought Severity Index (DSI), and inferred the impact of drought on sorghum productivity in Sudan from 2001 to 2011. To identify the wet and dry areas, the deviations of tropical rainfall measuring mission (TRMM) precipitation products from the long-term mean from 2001 to 2011 were computed and mapped at a seasonal scale (July–October). Our findings indicated that the dry condition fluctuated over the whole of Sudan at various temporal and spatial scales. The DSI results showed that both the Kordofan and Darfur regions were affected by drought in the period 2001–2005, whereas most regions were affected by drought from 2008 to 2011. The spatial correlation between DSI, SPI-3, and TRMM precipitation products illustrated a significant positive correlation in agricultural lands and negative correlation in mountainous areas. The relationship between DSI and the Standardized variable of crop yield (St. Y) for sorghum yield was also investigated over two main agricultural regions (Central and Eastern regions) for the period 2001–2011, which revealed a good agreement between them, and a huge drop of sorghum yield also occurred in 2008–2011, corresponding to extreme drought indicated by DSI. The present study indicated that DSI can be used for agricultural drought monitoring and served as an alternative indicator for the estimation of crop yield over Sudan in some levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural drought; crop yield; drought severity index; TRMM; Sudan agricultural drought; crop yield; drought severity index; TRMM; Sudan

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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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Elhag, K.M.; Zhang, W. Monitoring and Assessment of Drought Focused on Its Impact on Sorghum Yield over Sudan by Using Meteorological Drought Indices for the Period 2001–2011. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1231.

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