Following the impact of droughts witnessed during the last decade there is an urgent need to develop a drought management strategy, policy framework, and action plan for Jordan. This study aims to provide a historical baseline using the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and meteorological drought maps, and to investigate the spatial and temporal trends using long-term historical precipitation records. Specifically, this study is based on the statistical analysis of 38 years of monthly rainfall data, gathered from all 29 meteorological stations that cover Jordan. The Mann–Kendall test and linear regression analysis were used to uncover evidence of long-term trends in precipitation. Drought indices were used for calculating the meteorological SPI on an annual (SPI12), 6-months (SPI6), and 3-months basis (SPI3). At each level, every drought event was characterized according to its duration, interval, and intensity. Then, drought maps were generated using interpolation kriging to investigate the spatial extent of drought events, while drought patterns were temporally characterized using multilinear regression and spatial grouped using the hierarchical clustering technique. Both annual and monthly trend analyses and the Mann–Kendall test indicated significant reduction of precipitation in time for all weather stations except for Madaba. The rate of decrease is estimated at approximately 1.8 mm/year for the whole country. The spatial SPI krig maps that were generated suggest the presence of two drought types in the spatial dimension: Local and national. Local droughts reveal no actual observed trends or repeatable patterns of occurrence. However, looking at meteorological droughts across all time scales indicated that Jordan is facing an increasing number of local droughts. With a probability of occurrence of once every two years to three years. On the other hand, extreme national droughts occur once every 15 to 20 years and last for two or more consecutive years. Linear trends indicated significant increase in drought magnitude by time with a rate of 0.02 (p
< 0.0001). Regression analysis indicated that draught in Jordan is time dependent (p
< 0.001) rather than being spatially dependent (p
> 0.99). Hierarchical clustering was able to group national draughts into three zones, namely the northern zone, the eastern zone, and the southern zone. This study highlights the urgent need for a monitoring program to investigate local and national drought impacts on all sectors, as well as the development of a set of proactive risk management measures and preparedness plans for various physiographic regions.
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