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Journal of Arid Land  2017, Vol. 9 Issue (6): 797-809    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0070-y
Orginal Article     
Estimation of meteorological drought indices based on AgMERRA precipitation data and station-observed precipitation data
1 Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad 9177948944, Iran
2 Department of Geography, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad 9177948974, Iran
3 Institute for Sustainable Food System, University of Florida, Gainesville 110570, USA
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Meteorological drought is a natural hazard that can occur under all climatic regimes. Monitoring the drought is a vital and important part of predicting and analyzing drought impacts. Because no single index can represent all facets of meteorological drought, we took a multi-index approach for drought monitoring in this study. We assessed the ability of eight precipitation-based drought indices (SPI (Standardized Precipitation Index), PNI (Percent of Normal Index), DI (Deciles index), EDI (Effective drought index), CZI (China-Z index), MCZI (Modified CZI), RAI (Rainfall Anomaly Index), and ZSI (Z-score Index)) calculated from the station-observed precipitation data and the AgMERRA gridded precipitation data to assess historical drought events during the period 1987-2010 for the Kashafrood Basin of Iran. We also presented the Degree of Dryness Index (DDI) for comparing the intensities of different drought categories in each year of the study period (1987-2010). In general, the correlations among drought indices calculated from the AgMERRA precipitation data were higher than those derived from the station-observed precipitation data. All indices indicated the most severe droughts for the study period occurred in 2001 and 2008. Regardless of data input source, SPI, PNI, and DI were highly inter-correlated (R2=0.99). Furthermore, the higher correlations (R2=0.99) were also found between CZI and MCZI, and between ZSI and RAI. All indices were able to track drought intensity, but EDI and RAI showed higher DDI values compared with the other indices. Based on the strong correlation among drought indices derived from the AgMERRA precipitation data and from the station-observed precipitation data, we suggest that the AgMERRA precipitation data can be accepted to fill the gaps existed in the station-observed precipitation data in future studies in Iran. In addition, if tested by station-observed precipitation data, the AgMERRA precipitation data may be used for the data-lacking areas.

Key wordssevere drought      degree of dryness      MDM (Meteorological Drought Monitoring) software      precipitation      intensity      Middle East     
Received: 25 March 2017      Published: 20 December 2017
Corresponding Authors: ALIZADEH Amin     E-mail:;
Cite this article:

SALEHNIA Nasrin, ALIZADEH Amin, SANAEINEJAD Hossein, BANNAYAN Mohammad, ZARRIN Azar, HOOGENBOOM Gerrit. Estimation of meteorological drought indices based on AgMERRA precipitation data and station-observed precipitation data. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(6): 797-809.

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