CR prepress abstract  -  doi: 10.3354/cr01451

Drought assessment in Northwest China during 1960–2013 using the Standardized Precipitation Index

Peng Yang, Jun Xia*, Yongyong Zhang, Longfeng Wang


ABSTRACT: The standardized precipitation index (SPI) can be used to analyze the spatio-temporal characteristics of regional water resources. Monthly precipitation data obtained from 96 weather stations in Northwest China from 1960 to 2013 were used to calculate the SPI. Changes in the SPI were analyzed using the Mann–Kendall (MK) test and the Pettitt test. The results indicated that 50 stations had a significant increasing trend in the annual SPI series. Meanwhile, seasonal explorations of SPI revealed the prevalence of serious drought conditions in the spring, and most stations exhibited a wetting trend in the winter. The significant (α = 0.05) abrupt changes in the annual and seasonal SPI series occurred mostly in 1981–1985. Additionally, a significant abrupt change occurred in the year 1986 in five sub-basins (the Turpan-Hami Basin, Gurbantunggut Desert Basin, Northern Tianshan Mountains, Northern Kunlun Mountains, and the Tarim Desert Basin).