Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 138, Issue 3–4, pp 1511–1523 | Cite as

Toward coupling hydrological and meteorological drought characteristics in Lake Urmia Basin, Iran

  • Mohammad Nazeri TahroudiEmail author
  • Mohsen Pourreza-Bilondi
  • Yousef Ramezani
Original Paper


Investigation of precipitation characteristics on daily, monthly, and annual time scales can contribute to gaining important information related to temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation or even flow rate challenges (e.g., hydrological droughts). The low levels of long-term precipitation and high variability in different time scales are considered the main inherent characteristics of climate in Iran. Due to the direct effects of precipitation on water resources, especially on the river flow rate, it is necessary to assess the efficient indices to visualize the variations in the components of water resources. One of the main indices is the precipitation concentration index (PCI) which is known as a strong indicator of the precipitation distribution generally used on annual and seasonal scales. In this study, drought analysis in the Lake Urmia Basin (LUB) located in northwest of Iran was performed with the daily river flow rate and monthly precipitation values within the period of 1984–2013. The results of changes in precipitation indicated that the irregularity of precipitation distribution had grown in spring months. Also, due to the diminishing precipitation trend on the annual time scale, PCI index also increased. It is concluded that LUB detected a significant descending trend on the annual, spring, and winter time scales in the last 30 years. The PCI values were proved high irregularity in summer with PCI amount of 20.1 and most regularity in winter with PCI amount of 10.4. This paper also aims to assess the effects of PCI on the river flow rate along with the flow shortness volume values using hydrometric and rain gauge stations within LUB. The results obtained from the changes in river flow rate and flow shortness volume revealed that the river flow rate has mostly a falling trend. Finally, it was observed that the time when the river flow rate data changed happened after beginning of changes in the precipitation data. A decrease in inflow from 900 million cubic meters up to 14 billion cubic meters with high flow shortness volume may happen in worst conditions. These results highlighted the importance of applying water resources management in LUB.


Flow shortness volume Lake Urmia Meteorological drought Precipitation concentration index Time of change point 



The authors would like to thank West Azerbaijan Regional Water Authority for providing river flow and precipitation data.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Water Engineering, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of BirjandBirjandIran

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