Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 697–709 | Cite as

DrinC: a software for drought analysis based on drought indices

  • Dimitris TigkasEmail author
  • Harris Vangelis
  • George Tsakiris
Software Article


Drought is a complex phenomenon which can be characterised mainly by its severity, duration and areal extent. Among these three dimensions, drought severity is the key factor which can be used for drought analysis. Drought indices are typically used to assess drought severity in a meaningful way. DrinC (Drought Indices Calculator) is a software package which was developed for providing a simple, though adaptable interface for the calculation of drought indices. The paper aims at presenting the overall design and the implementation of the software along with the utilisation of various approaches for drought analysis. DrinC can be used for the calculation of two recently developed indices, the Reconnaissance Drought Index (RDI) and the Streamflow Drought Index (SDI), as well as two widely known indices, the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) and the Precipitation Deciles (PD). Moreover, the software includes a module for the estimation of potential evapotranspiration (PET) through temperature based methods, useful for the calculation of RDI. The software may be used in a variety of applications, such as drought monitoring, assessment of the spatial distribution of drought, investigation of climatic and drought scenarios, etc. The applications of DrinC in several locations, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, show that it is gaining ground as a useful research and operational tool for drought analysis.


Drought analysis software Drought indices Reconnaissance drought index (RDI) Streamflow drought index (SDI) Standardized precipitation index (SPI) Potential evapotranspiration (PET) 


  1. Abramovitz M. and Stegun I. (1965) Handbook of mathematical functions. National bureau of standards, applied mathematics series–55, Washington, D.CGoogle Scholar
  2. Balint Z, Mutua FM, Muchiri P (2011) Drought monitoring with the combined drought index. FAO-SWALIM Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  3. Beguería S., Vicente-Serrano S.M. (2013) Calculation of the standardised precipitation-evapotranspiration index. (accessed July 2, 2014)
  4. Bordi I. and Sutera A. (2007) Drought monitoring and forecasting at large scale. In: Rossi G. et al. (eds.) Methods and tools for drought analysis and management. Springer, pp 3–27Google Scholar
  5. Borg DS (2009) An application of drought indices in Malta, case study. Eur Water 25/26:25–38Google Scholar
  6. Brouwer C, Heibloem M (1986) Irrigation water management: irrigation water needs. Training manual no. 3. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  7. Capodici F, Ciraolo G, La Loggia G, Liuzzo L, Noto LV, Noto MT (2008) Time series analysis of climate and vegetation variables in the Oreto Watershed (Sicily, Italy). Eur Water 23/24:133–145Google Scholar
  8. Dalezios NR, Blanta A, Spyropoulos NV (2012) Assessment of remotely sensed drought features in vulnerable agriculture. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 12:3139–3150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Doorenbos J, Pruitt WO (1977) Guidelines for predicting crop water requirements. Irrigation and drainage paper 24, 2nd edn. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  10. Edwards D.C. and McKee T.B. (1997) Characteristics of 20th century drought in the United States at multiple time scales. Climatology report number 97–2, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  11. Gibbs W.J. and Maher J.V. (1967) Rainfall deciles as drought indicators. Bureau of meteorology bulletin no. 48. Commonwealth of Australia, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  12. Hargreaves GH, Samani ZA (1985) Reference crop evapotranspiration from temperature. Trans ASAE 1(2):96–99Google Scholar
  13. Hayes MJ, Alvord C, Lowrey J (2007) Drought indices. Feature Article Int West Clim Summ 3(6):2–6Google Scholar
  14. Kanellou E, Domenikiotis C, Blanta A, Hondronikou E, Dalezios NR (2008) Index-based drought assessment in semi-arid areas of Greece based on conventional data. Eur Water 23/24:87–98Google Scholar
  15. Kanellou E, Spyropoulos N, Dalezios NR (2012) Geoinformatic intelligence methodologies for drought spatiotemporal variability in Greece. Water Resour Manag 26:1089–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kininmonth W.R., Voice M.E., Beard G.S., de Hoedt G.C. and Mullen C.E (2000) Australian climate services for drought management. In D.A. Wilhite (ed.) Drought, a global assessment., Routledge, pp. 210–222Google Scholar
  17. McKee T.B., Doesken N.J. and Kleist J. (1993) The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scale. In proceedings of the eighth conference on applied climatology, American meteorological society. Anaheim (CA), 17–22 January 1993, AMS, pp. 179–184Google Scholar
  18. Michaelides S, Pashiardis S (2008) Monitoring drought in Cyprus during the 2007–2008 hydrometeorological year by using the standardized precipitation index (SPI). Eur Water 23/24:123–131Google Scholar
  19. Morid S, Smakhtin VU, Moghaddasi M (2006) Comparison of seven meteorological indices for drought monitoring in Iran. Int J Climatol 26:971–985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mostafavi Darani S.M., Khoshhal Dastjerdi J., Parandeh A., Ghatrehsamani M (2011) Drought monitoring in Isfahan province (Iran) by comparison of SPI and RDI. ‘European Conference on applications of meteorology’ EMS annual meeting abstracts vol. 8, EMS2011-229, 11th EMS/10th ECAM. 12–16 Sept. 2011, Berlin, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  21. Nalbantis Ι (2008) Drought and streamflow. Eur Water 23/24:65–76Google Scholar
  22. Nalbantis Ι, Tsakiris G (2009) Assessment of hydrological drought revisited. Water Resour Manag 23(5):881–897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. NDMC - National Drought Mitigation Center (2014) Program to calculate standardized precipitation index. (accessed June 30, 2014)
  24. Pashiardis S, Michaelides S (2008) Implementation of the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and the reconnaissance drought index (RDI) for regional drought assessment: a case study for Cyprus. Eur Water 23/24:57–65Google Scholar
  25. Rares H.C.Z. (2013) Drought analysis in western romania using DrinC program. In A. Zaharim et al. (eds.) Recent advances in energy, environment and geology,. WSEAS Press, Energy, environmental and structural engineering series 18. pp. 82–87Google Scholar
  26. Rossi G, Benedini M, Tsakiris G, Giakoumakis S (1992) On regional drought estimation and analysis. Water Resour Manag 6:249–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smakhtin VU, Hughes DA (2007) Automated estimation and analyses of meteorological drought characteristics from monthly rainfall data. Environ Model Softw 22:880–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stamm G.G. (1967) Problems and procedures in determining water supply requirements for irrigation projects. In: Hagan et al. (eds.) Irrigation of agricultural lands, Wis Am. Soc Agron Agron II. pp. 771–784Google Scholar
  29. Thom HCS (1958) A note on the gamma distribution. Mon Weather Rev 86:117–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thornthwaite CW (1948) An approach towards a rational classification of climates. Geogr Rev 38:55–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tigkas D (2008) Drought characterisation and monitoring in regions of Greece. Eur Water 23/24:29–39Google Scholar
  32. Tigkas D, Tsakiris G (2004) Medbasin: a Mediterranean rainfall-runoff software package. Eur Water 5/6:3–11Google Scholar
  33. Tigkas D, Vangelis H, Tsakiris G (2012) Drought and climatic change impact on streamflow in small watersheds. Sci Total Environ 440:33–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tigkas D, Vangelis H, Tsakiris G (2013) The RDI as a composite climatic index. Eur Water 41:17–22Google Scholar
  35. Tsakiris G. and Pangalou D. (2009) Drought characterisation in the Mediterranean. In: A. Iglesias et al. (eds.), Coping with drought risk in agriculture and water supply systems. Spinger Science & Business Media B.V. pp. 69–80Google Scholar
  36. Tsakiris G, Vangelis H (2004) Towards a drought watch system based on spatial SPI. Water Resour Manag 18(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tsakiris G, Vangelis H (2005) Establishing a drought index incorporating evapotranspiration. Eur Water 9/10:3–11Google Scholar
  38. Tsakiris G, Loukas A, Pangalou D, Vangelis H, Tigkas D, Rossi G, Cancelliere A (2007a) Drought characterization. In: Iglesias A et al (eds) Drought management guidelines technical annex. CIHEAM / EC MEDAWater, Zaragoza, pp 85–102Google Scholar
  39. Tsakiris G, Pangalou D, Tigkas D, Vangelis H (2007b) Assessing the areal extent of drought. In: Karatzas G et al (eds) Proceedings of EWRA symposium “Water resources management: new approaches and technologies”. Chania, Greece, pp 59–66Google Scholar
  40. Tsakiris G, Pangalou D, Vangelis H (2007c) Regional drought assessment based on the reconnaissance drought index (RDI). Water Resour Manag 21(5):821–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tsakiris G, Tigkas D, Vangelis H, Pangalou D (2007d) Regional drought identification and assessment–case study in Crete. In: Rossi G. et al (eds.) Methods and tools for drought analysis and management. Springer, The Netherlands, pp 169–191Google Scholar
  42. Tsakiris G, Nalbantis I, Pangalou D, Tigkas D, Vangelis H. (2008) Drought meteorological monitoring network design for the reconnaissance drought index (RDI). In Franco Lopez A. (ed.), Proceedings of the 1st International Conference “Drought Management: scientific and technological innovations”. Zaragoza, Spain: Option Méditerranéennes, Series A, No. 80, 12–14 June 2008; 2008. pp. 57–62Google Scholar
  43. Tsakiris G, Nalbantis I, Vangelis H, Verbeiren B, Huysmans M, Tychon B, Jacquemin I, Canters F, Vanderhaegen S, Engelen G, Poelmans L, De Becker P, Batelaan O (2013) A system-based paradigm of drought analysis for operational management. Water Resour Manag 27:5281–5297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tsakiris G., Vangelis H., Tigkas D. (2010) Drought impacts on yield potential in rainfed agriculture. In: Proceedings of 2nd International conference on drought management ‘economics of drought and drought preparedness in a climate change context’, 4–6 March 2010, Istanbul, Turkey, pp. 191–197Google Scholar
  45. Vangelis H, Tigkas D, Tsakiris G (2013) The effect of PET method on reconnaissance drought index (RDI) calculation. J Arid Environ 88:130–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilhite D.A. (2009) Drought monitoring as a component of drought preparedness planning. In: A. Iglesias et al. (eds.), Coping with drought risk in agriculture and water supply systems. Spinger Science & Business Media B.V. pp. 3–19Google Scholar
  47. Wilhite DA, Svoboda MD, Hayes MJ (2005) Monitoring drought in the United Sates. Status and trends. In: Boken VK et al (eds) Monitoring and predicting agricultural drought: a global study. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 121–131Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitris Tigkas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harris Vangelis
    • 1
  • George Tsakiris
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Reclamation Works and Water Resources Management & Centre for the Assessment of Natural Hazards and Proactive Planning, School of Rural and Surveying EngineeringNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations