Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 680–693 | Cite as

Daily SPEI Reveals Long-term Change in Drought Characteristics in Southwest China

  • Yanqing Jia
  • Bo ZhangEmail author
  • Bin Ma


Drought is the most widespread and insidious natural hazard, presenting serious challenges to ecosystems and human society. The daily Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) has been developed to identify the regional spatiotemporal characteristics of drought conditions from 1960 to 2016, revealing the variability in drought characteristics across Southwest China. Daily data from142 meteorological stations across the region were used to calculate the daily SPEI at the annual and seasonal time scale. The Mann-Kendall test and the trend statistics were then applied to quantify the significance of drought trends, with the following results. 1) The regionally averaged intensity and duration of all-drought and severe drought showed increasing trends, while the intensity and duration of extreme drought exhibited decreasing trends. 2) Mixed (increasing/decreasing) trends were detected, in terms of intensity and duration, in the three types of drought events. In general, no evidence of significant trends (P < 0.05) was detected in the drought intensity and duration over the last 55 years at the annual timescale. Seasonally, spring was characterized by a severe drought trend for all drought and severe drought conditions, while extreme drought events in spring and summer were very severe. All drought intensities and durations showed an increasing trend across most regions, except in the northwestern parts of Sichuan Province. However, the areal extent of regions suffering increasing trends in severe and extreme drought became relatively smaller. 3) We identified the following drought hotspots: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from the 1960s to the 1990s, respectively. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guizhou Province in the 1970s and 1980s, and Yunnan Province in the 2000s. Finally, this paper can benefit operational drought characterization with a day-to-day drought monitoring index, enabling a more risk-based drought management strategy in the context of global warming.


drought spatial-temporal characteristics variability daily Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) Southwest China 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Geography and Environmental ScienceNorthwest Normal UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of GeographyXinzhou Normal UniversityXinzhouChina

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