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Drought frequency characteristics of vegetation in China during 1981 to 2019

Jingyu Zeng, Rongrong Zhang, Yuehuan Lin, Xiaoping Wu, Jia Tang, Pengcheng Guo, Jinghan Li, Qianfeng Wang*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Droughts, major natural disasters with a complicated evolutionary mechanism, have caused enormous losses to human society, especially to the agriculture sector. Here, vegetation health index dataset with high temporal resolution at week scale are adopted. The nonparametric Mann-Kendall trend method was used to analyze the spatiotemporal evolution of the drought frequency in China during 1981–2019 at grid level. Results suggest the that (1) after entering the 21st century, China’s drought-affected scope has declined, with the northeast of China being the least affected region and the northwest being the most severely affected; (2) the spatial pattern of drought characteristics in China is polarized, and the frequency of droughts has generally declined, with the most prominent intensity and frequency observed in some developed regions; and (3) although the changes to the drought characteristics and frequency in China provide a generally optimistic overview, drought intensity and frequency in some developed regions have increased significantly, and the future trend predictions for these areas are less positive. This study focuses on the spatiotemporal characteristics and evolution of drought patterns to raise awareness of drought disasters, help people mitigate and prevent the damage caused by droughts to human society, and provide a scientific basis for drought early–warning systems and risk management in China going forward.