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CR 88:137-154 (2022)  -  DOI:

Spatiotemporal characterization of meteorological drought: a global approach using the Drought Exceedance Probability Index (DEPI)

Natalia Limones1,*, Jesús Vargas Molina1, Pilar Paneque2

1University of Seville, C. Doña María de Padilla, 41004 Seville, Spain
2Pablo de Olavide University, Ctra. Utrera Km.1, 41013 Seville, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We present a global spatiotemporal characterization of meteorological droughts using historical precipitation data through the Drought Exceedance Probability Index (DEPI). The relationship between meteorological drought characteristics and monthly precipitation is explored at a global level. This study contributes to our understanding of the drought features observed in different areas of the planet, which can help predict the behavior of future droughts. The DEPI was applied to the Climate Research Unit global gridded high-resolution rainfall data set covering the period 1901-2019. Monthly drought index series were examined to extract the number of droughts experienced in each pixel (0.50° × 0.50°) of the globe, as well as their durations, intensities and severities. Results show agreement with other global drought characterization efforts, revealing areas with a greater drought occurrence. This paper demonstrates that regions with less seasonality and less intra- and inter-annual rainfall variability report fewer drought episodes. Duration and severity of droughts are also related to these rainfall features. The last part of the study describes the temporal distribution of droughts throughout the world. We conclude that regions with many events show stable, even distributions over time, but many pixels in the intertropical regions, the Middle East and smaller patches in Mongolia, China, Siberia and Canada currently show higher-intensity and longer-duration drought events than at the beginning of the twentieth century, while the opposite occurs in parts of Scandinavia, Russia, Argentina and Tanzania. The analysis demonstrates that DEPI is easy to use, is applicable to different climates and is effective in detecting the onset, end and intensity of droughts.

KEY WORDS: Meteorological drought events · Drought duration · Drought intensity · Global assessment · Spatiotemporal patterns

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Cite this article as: Limones N, Vargas Molina J, Paneque P (2022) Spatiotemporal characterization of meteorological drought: a global approach using the Drought Exceedance Probability Index (DEPI). Clim Res 88:137-154.

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