Articles | Volume 368
07 May 2015
 | 07 May 2015

Regional drought assessment using a distributed hydrological model coupled with Standardized Runoff Index

H. Shen, F. Yuan, L. Ren, M. Ma, H. Kong, and R. Tong

Keywords: Variable infiltration capacity, standardized runoff index, Weihe River basin, drought assessment, spatio-temporal drought analysis

Abstract. Drought assessment is essential for coping with frequent droughts nowadays. Owing to the large spatio-temporal variations in hydrometeorology in most regions in China, it is very necessary to use a physically-based hydrological model to produce rational spatial and temporal distributions of hydro-meteorological variables for drought assessment. In this study, the large-scale distributed hydrological model Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) was coupled with a modified standardized runoff index (SRI) for drought assessment in the Weihe River basin, northwest China. The result indicates that the coupled model is capable of reasonably reproducing the spatial distribution of drought occurrence. It reflected the spatial heterogeneity of regional drought and improved the physical mechanism of SRI. This model also has potential for drought forecasting, early warning and mitigation, given that accurate meteorological forcing data are available.