Natural Hazards

, Volume 92, Supplement 1, pp 145–163 | Cite as

The relationship between drought activity and vegetation cover in Northwest China from 1982 to 2013

  • Yelin Jiang
  • Ranghui WangEmail author
  • Qing Peng
  • Xiaoquan Wu
  • Husen Ning
  • Cheng Li
Original Paper


We investigated drought activity and the relationship between drought and vegetation in Northwest China over the period 1982–2013 using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). The indexes were, respectively, calculated from ground-based meteorological data and from remotely sensed satellite data. The spatial and temporal distributions of drought (SPEI) and of vegetation cover (NDVI) were compared using annual trends, and the relationships between these trends were analyzed. The results are: (1) Overall, Northwest China had a drought trend during the study period, although some a few regions show a significant wetness trend; (2) the mean annual NDVI fluctuates, but overall shows an increasing trend, particularly in some mountainous areas that have at least adequate water and vegetation cover, while unused land becomes degraded; (3) most regions show a positive correlation between SPEI and NDVI, although the western parts of the Tarim basin, Qaidam basin, and some regions in the southeastern part of study area show a negative correlation; and (4) the various regions respond differently to global climate change, but in general regions with more vegetation cover show increased vegetation growth, while regions with less vegetation cover are becoming degraded and thus more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.


Climate change Drought SPEI NDVI Land use Arid and semiarid land Northwest China 



This work was supported by the National Key Technologies R&D Program of China (2012BAD16B0305, 2012BAC23B01) and the Clean Development Mechanism Fund of China (2013013).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yelin Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ranghui Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Qing Peng
    • 1
  • Xiaoquan Wu
    • 1
  • Husen Ning
    • 3
  • Cheng Li
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Applied MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center on Atmospheric Environment and Equipment TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.Xinjiang Academy of Forestry ScienceÜrümqiChina

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