Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 117, Issue 1–2, pp 89–101 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal characteristics of regional drought occurrence in East Asia

  • Su-Bin Oh
  • Hi-Ryong Byun
  • Do-Woo Kim
Original Paper


Droughts in the East Asian region (105–150°E, 20–50°N) are quantified using the effective drought index (EDI) over a period of 43 years, from 1962 to 2004, and the East Asian region was classified into six subregions on the basis of similarity in drought climate: (D1) South China; (D2) lower region of the Yangtze River, South Korea, and Central/South Japan; (D3) Central China and North Korea; (D4) Northwest China and middle region of the Yangtze River; (D5) North China; and (D6) Northeast China and North Japan. The EDI time series was then summarized for the different drought subregions and a drought map was created that shows the spatiotemporal characteristics of regional drought occurrence in East Asia. The map shows that in subregions, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, and D6, there were 50 (11.63 per decade), 36 (8.37 per decade), 30 (6.98 per decade), 28 (6.51 per decade), 29 (6.74 per decade), and 33 (7.67 per decade) drought occurrences, respectively. The most common characteristic of droughts in the subregions is that short-term droughts (<200 days) which mainly occur in spring and summer, whereas long-term droughts (≥200 days) mainly occur in autumn and winter. D1 shows the highest frequency of short-term droughts. Short-term droughts occur more frequently than long-term droughts in D2 and D3, but D4 and D6 showed a higher frequency of long-term droughts than short-term droughts. D5 showed a similar frequency of short- and long-term droughts. Drought onset dates are evenly distributed throughout the year for D1, D2, and D3, but distributed mostly in spring and summer in D4, D5, and D6. All the differences are linked to variations in the precipitation cycle of each subregion. In terms of annual variations in drought occurrence, D2 showed weakening droughts (the annual lowest EDI shows a positive trend), whereas the other subregions showed intensifying droughts (the annual lowest EDI shows a negative trend). The greatest intensifying trend was observed in D5, followed by D3, D6, D4, and D1.


Standardize Precipitation Index Drought Event Palmer Drought Severity Index Onset Date Meteorological Drought 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is supported by the “Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program, CATER 2006-2306” of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and by the “Development and application of technology for weather forecasting (NIMR-2013-B-1)” of the National Institute of Meteorological Research (NIMR).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forecast Research Laboratory, National Institute of Meteorological ResearchKorea Meteorological AdministrationSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Atmospheric SciencesPukyong National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Multi-Hazard Research Division, National Disaster Management InstituteMinistry of Public Administration and SecuritySeoulRepublic of Korea

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