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Atmosphere 2018, 9(10), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9100370

A Comprehensive Approach to Assess the Hydrological Drought of Inland River Basin in Northwest China

1
Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
2
Research Center for East-West Cooperation in China, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
4
School of Urban and Geography, Lanzhou City College, Lanzhou 730070, China
5
Faculty of Tourism Management, Shanxi University of Finance & Economics, Shanxi 030006, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 22 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources)
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Abstract

How to measure and quantitatively assess hydrological drought (HD) in the inland river basins of Northwest China is a difficult problem because of the complicated geographical environment and climatic processes. To address this problem, we conducted a comprehensive approach and selected the Aksu River Basin (ARB) as a typical inland river basin to quantitatively assess the hydrological drought based on the observed data and reanalysis data during the period of 1980–2010. We used two mutual complementing indicators, i.e., the standardized runoff index (SRI) and standardized terrestrial water storage index (SWSI), to quantitatively measure the spatio-temporal pattern of HD, where the SRI calculated from the observed runoff data indicate the time trend of HD of the whole basin, while SWSI extracted from the reanalysis data indicate the spatial pattern of HD. We also used the auto-regressive distribution lag model (ARDL) to show the autocorrelation of HD and its dependence on precipitation, potential evapotranspiration (PET), and soil moisture. The main conclusions are as follows: (a) the western and eastern regions of the ARB were prone to drought, whereas the frequency of drought in the middle of the ARB is relatively lower; (b) HD presents significant autocorrelation with two months’ lag, and soil moisture is correlated with SWSI with two months’ lag, whereas PET and precipitation are correlated with SWSI with 1 month’ lag; (c) the thresholds of HD for annual PET, annual precipitation, and annual average soil moisture are greater than 844.05 mm, less than 134.52 mm, and less than 411.07 kg/m2, respectively. A drought early warning system that is based on the thresholds was designed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Drought; runoff; terrestrial water storage; precipitation; evapotranspiration; soil moisture; Northwest China Drought; runoff; terrestrial water storage; precipitation; evapotranspiration; soil moisture; Northwest China
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Zhu, N.; Xu, J.; Li, W.; Li, K.; Zhou, C. A Comprehensive Approach to Assess the Hydrological Drought of Inland River Basin in Northwest China. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 370.

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