Drought assessment using a multivariate drought index in the Huaihe River basin of Eastern China
- 1College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
- 2Center for International River Research, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
- 3Henan Hydrology and Water Resources Survey Bureau, Zhengzhou, China
- 4Xinyang Hydrology and Water Resources Survey Bureau, Xinyang, China
Abstract. The Huaihe River Basin having China's highest population density (662 persons per km2) lies in a transition zone between the climates of North and South China, and is thus prone to drought. Therefore, the paper aims to develop an appropriate drought assessment approach for drought assessment in the Huaihe River basin, China. Based on the Principal Component Analysis of precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture and runoff, the three latter variables of which were obtained by use of the Xin'anjiang model, a new multivariate drought index (MDI) was formulated, and its thresholds were determined by use of cumulative distribution function. The MDI, the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (sc-PDSI) time series on a monthly scale were computed and compared during 1988, 1999/2000 and 2001 drought events. The results show that the MDI exhibited certain advantages over the sc-PDSI and the SPI in monitoring drought evolution. The MDI formulated by this paper could provide a scientific basis for drought mitigation and management, and references for drought assessment elsewhere in China.