Drought forecasting using stochastic models

  • A. K. Mishra
  • V. R. Desai
Original Paper


Drought is a global phenomenon that occurs virtually in all landscapes causing significant damage both in natural environment and in human lives. Due to the random nature of contributing factors, occurrence and severity of droughts can be treated as stochastic in nature. Early indication of possible drought can help to set out drought mitigation strategies and measures in advance. Therefore drought forecasting plays an important role in the planning and management of water resource systems. In this study, linear stochastic models known as ARIMA and multiplicative Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) models were used to forecast droughts based on the procedure of model development. The models were applied to forecast droughts using standardized precipitation index (SPI) series in the Kansabati river basin in India, which lies in the Purulia district of West Bengal state in eastern India. The predicted results using the best models were compared with the observed data. The predicted results show reasonably good agreement with the actual data, 1–2 months ahead. The predicted value decreases with increase in lead-time. So the models can be used to forecast droughts up to 2 months of lead-time with reasonably accuracy.


Kansabati catchment ARIMA model SARIMA model SPI Forecasting 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for giving valuable suggestions for improving the quality of the paper. The authors would also like to acknowledge the editor G. Christakos for the timely handling the review processes of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringIndian Institute of TechnologyKharagpurIndia

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