Drought index is a useful tool to assess and respond to drought. However, current drought indices could not fully reveal land use effects and they have limitations in applications. Besides, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), strongly influences the climate of Florida. Hence, understanding ENSO patterns on a regional scale and developing a new land use drought index suitable for Florida are critical in agriculture and water resources planning and management. This paper presents a 32 km high resolution land use adapted drought index, which relies on five types of land uses (lake, urban, forest, wetland, and agriculture) in Florida. The land uses were obtained from National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data from 1979 to 2002. The results showed that Bowen ratio responded to land use and could be used as an indicator to monitor drought events. Then, an innovative regional land use drought index was developed from the normalized Bowen ratio, which could reflect not only the level of severity during drought events resulting from land use effects, but also La Niña driven drought impacts. The proposed new index may help scientists answer the critical questions about drought effect on various land uses and potential feedbacks of changes in land use and land cover to climate.
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