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Identification of the Space-Time Variability of Hydrological Drought in the Arid Region of Northwestern China

1
School of Urban and Environment Science, Huaiyin Normal University, Huaian 223300, China
2
Research Center for Climate change, Ministry of water resources, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210029, China
3
Department of Land and Resources, China West Normal University, Nanchong 637002, China
4
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Urumqi 830011, China
5
Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 1051; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051051
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Drought monitoring is crucial to water resource management and strategic planning. Thus, the objective of this study is to identify the space-time variability of hydrological drought across the broad arid region of northwestern China. Seven distributions were applied to fitting monthly streamflow records of 16 gauging stations from 10 rivers. Finally, the general logistic distribution was selected as the most appropriate one to compute the Standardized Streamflow Index (SSI). The severity and duration of hydrological droughts were also captured from the SSI series. Moreover, we investigate the relationship between hydrological drought (SSI) and meteorological drought (Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI)) at different time scales. The results show that drought duration and severity decreased over time in the Aibihu, Irtysh, Kaidu, Aksu, Yarkand, Hoton, Shule, Heihe (upstream), and Shiyang Rivers. However, the Tarim (upstream) and Heihe (middle stream) Rivers showed increasing drought duration and severity and this can be attributed to recent decades human activities. Furthermore, two correlation coefficient patterns between SSI and SPEI were found for the rivers of interest, an “increasing-decreasing” pattern for the Irtysh, Heihe, and Shiyang Rivers, where the precipitation is the main runoff supply, and an “increasing-stable” pattern for Aibihu and the Kaidu, Aksu, Yarkand, Hotan, and Shule Rivers, where glacier melt water provided a relatively high supply of runoff. Our findings are a contribution towards implementing effective water resources evaluation and planning in this arid region. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrological drought; Standardized Streamflow Index (SSI); Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI); arid region of northwestern China hydrological drought; Standardized Streamflow Index (SSI); Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI); arid region of northwestern 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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Wang, H.; Chen, Z.; Chen, Y.; Pan, Y.; Feng, R. Identification of the Space-Time Variability of Hydrological Drought in the Arid Region of Northwestern China. Water 2019, 11, 1051.

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