High spatial and temporal variation in precipitation in South Korea leads to an increase in the frequency and duration of drought. In this study, the spatial characteristics of temporal trends for precipitation and drought severity time series were analyzed at 55 stations across South Korea for the period 1980–2015. This study also reviewed the usefulness of different trend tests while addressing the issue of serial correlation, which has often received less attention in previous studies. Results showed that most significant trends in precipitation were detected along the south coast of South Korea, especially during winter, late spring and summer, whereas no significant trend was detected in annual precipitation. The Sen’s slope of the trends increased from January to August and decreased from August onward. Principal component analysis applied on Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) at a 12-month time scale divides the whole of South Korea into four subregions with different temporal behaviors of drought severity. Moreover, drought severity showed a significant increasing trend, mainly on the northeast coast. Drought frequency analysis showed more frequent droughts in late winter, early spring and early autumn, with less frequent droughts in summer.
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