Water Resources Management

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1323–1342 | Cite as

A Monte Carlo Simulation-Based Approach to Evaluate the Performance of three Meteorological Drought Indices in Northwest of Iran

  • Majid Montaseri
  • Babak Amirataee
  • Rizwan Nawaz


Although meteorological drought indices are considered as important tools for drought monitoring, they are embedded with different theoretical and experimental structures. Regarding the different geographic and climatic conditions around the world, the most meteorological drought indices have been commonly applied for drought monitoring in different parts of the world. Interestingly, it is observed that such indices in the published studies on drought monitoring have usually yielded inconsistent performance. On the other hand, most studies on drought monitoring as well as the performance of drought indices has been based on short-term historical data (less than 50 years). Therefore, this study aimed to analyze and compare the performance of three common indices of SPI, RAI and PNPI to predict long-term drought events using the Monte Carlo procedure and historical data. To do this end, the 50-year recorded or historical rainfall data across 11 synoptic stations in the Northwest of Iran were employed to generate 1000 synthetic data series so that the characteristics of long-term drought might be determined and the performance of those three indices might be analyzed and compared. The results indicated a very high comparative advantage of the SPI in terms of yielding a satisfactory and detailed analysis to determine the characteristics of long-term drought. Also, the RAI indicated significant deviations from normalized natural processes. However, these results could not reasonably and sufficiently predict long-term drought. Finally, the PNPI was determined as the most uncertain and spatial index (depending on average or coefficient of variation of rainfall data) in drought monitoring.


Data generation models Drought Drought indices Monte Carlo simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Majid Montaseri
    • 1
  • Babak Amirataee
    • 1
  • Rizwan Nawaz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Water EngineeringUrmia UniversityUrmiaIran
  2. 2.School of GeographyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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