Hydrological changes attributable to global warming increase the severity and frequency of droughts, which in turn affect agriculture. Hence, we proposed the Standardized Agricultural Drought Index (SADI), which is a new drought index specialized for agriculture and crops, and evaluated current and expected droughts in the Korean Peninsula. The SADI applies crop phenology to the hydrological cycle, which is a basic element that assesses drought. The SADI of rice and maize was calculated using representative hydrological variables (precipitation, evapotranspiration, and runoff) of the crop growing season. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of SADI, the three-month Standardized Precipitation Index, which is a representative drought index, and rainfed crop yield were estimated together. The performance evaluation of SADI showed that the correlation between rainfed crop yield and SADI was very high compared with that of existing drought index. The results of the assessment of drought over the past three decades provided a good indication of a major drought period and differentiated the results for crops and regions. The results of two future scenarios showed common drought risks in the western plains of North Korea. Successfully validated SADIs could be effectively applied to agricultural drought assessments in light of future climate change, and would be a good example of the water-food nexus approach.
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