, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 693-703
Date: 11 Sep 2013

Quantitative assessment of drought in a lacustrine wetland based on a water balance model

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Upstream inflow decline and excessive water withdrawal are the major reasons for failure in maintaining ecological functions of wetlands and could lead to wetland drought and degradation. Quantitative evaluation of wetlands drought constitutes the basis for managing and scheduling water resources and guaranteeing biological safety. In the study, we proposed a Palmer wetland drought index (PWDI) based on the water balance model that describes wetland hydrological characteristics linked to its located basin to describe drought-reflected ecological characteristics in lacustrine Baiyangdian Wetland and compared it with Palmer drought severity index (PDSI). The results presented that PWDI is able to reflect the worst drought in history, and the drought is mainly affected by water stored in the wetland, but PDSI is inadequate for evaluating the wetland drought. The PWDI methodology provides a clear, objective approach for describing the intensity of drought and can be readily adapted to characterize drought on an operational basis.