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Trends in meteorological and agricultural droughts in Iran

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate characteristics of meteorological and agricultural droughts and their trends in Iran, as well as several subregions with different climate conditions from 1980 to 2013. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Soil Moisture Index (SSI) are used as the primary indicators of meteorological and agricultural droughts, respectively. This study assesses historical droughts using the Multivariate Standardized Drought Index (MSDI), which provides a composite model of meteorological–agricultural drought. Furthermore, this study discusses the behavior of MSDI relative to the other indices (SPI and SSI) over different climatic conditions ranging from humid, semiarid, and hyperarid regions. The Mann–Kendall trend test shows that the northern, northwestern, and central parts of Iran have experienced significant drying trends at a 95 % confidence level. However, no statistically significant drying trend was observed in the eastern part of Iran. The most severe drought across the country occurred between 1998 and 2001, with approximately 80 % of the country experiencing an exceptional drought (<2 % probability of occurrence). This event coincided with a prolonged cold phase El Niño–Southern Oscillation (La Niña) that led to persistently cold sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific and warm sea surface temperatures in the Indian and western Pacific.

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Correspondence to A. AghaKouchak.

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Golian, S., Mazdiyasni, O. & AghaKouchak, A. Trends in meteorological and agricultural droughts in Iran. Theor Appl Climatol 119, 679–688 (2015) doi:10.1007/s00704-014-1139-6

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Keywords

  • Standardize Precipitation Index
  • Drought Index
  • Kendall Test
  • Meteorological Drought
  • Agricultural Drought