Natural Hazards

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 1797–1813 | Cite as

District-wide drought climatology of the southwest monsoon season over India based on standardized precipitation index (SPI)

  • D. S. PaiEmail author
  • Latha Sridhar
  • Pulak Guhathakurta
  • H. R. Hatwar
Original Paper


District-wide drought climatology over India for the southwest monsoon season (June–September) has been examined using two simple drought indices; Percent of Normal Precipitation (PNP) and Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). The season drought indices were computed using long times series (1901–2003) of southwest monsoon season rainfall data of 458 districts over the country. Identification of all India (nation-wide) drought incidences using both PNP and SPI yielded nearly similar results. However, the district-wide climatology based on PNP was biased by the aridity of the region. Whereas district-wide drought climatology based on SPI was not biased by aridity. This study shows that SPI is a better drought index than PNP for the district-wide drought monitoring over the country. SPI is also suitable for examining break and active events in the southwest monsoon rainfall over the country. The trend analysis of district-wide season (June–September) SPI series showed significant negative trends over several districts from Chattisgarh, Bihar, Kerala, Jharkhand, Assam and Meghalaya, Uttaranchal, east Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha etc., Whereas significant positive trends in the SPI series were observed over several districts from west Uttar Pradesh, west Madhya Pradesh, South & north Interior Karnataka, Konkan and Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, East Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat etc.


Southwest monsoon District-wide drought climatology over India Standardized precipitation index Percent of normal precipitation Linear trends 



We express our sincere thanks to Dr. Shailesh Naik, Secretary MoES and Dr. Ajit Tyagi, DGM, India Meteorological Department (IMD) for the guidance, encouragement and support in carrying out this research work. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions that helped in the overall improvement of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Pai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Latha Sridhar
    • 1
  • Pulak Guhathakurta
    • 1
  • H. R. Hatwar
    • 1
  1. 1.India Meteorological DepartmentPuneIndia

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