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Journal of Arid Land  2014, Vol. 6 Issue (1): 3-15    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0193-8
Research Articles     
Index-based assessment of agricultural drought in a semi-arid region of Inner Mongolia, China
Rui LI1*, Atsushi TSUNEKAWA2, Mitsuru TSUBO2
1 United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Koyama-Minami 4-101, Tottori University, Tottori 680-8553, Japan;
2 Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Hamasaka 1390, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
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Abstract  Agricultural drought is a type of natural disaster that seriously impacts food security. Because the relationships among short-term rainfall, soil moisture, and crop growth are complex, accurate identification of a drought situation is difficult. In this study, using a conceptual model based on the relationship between water deficit and crop yield reduction, we evaluated the drought process in a typical rainfed agricultural region, Hailar county in Inner Mongolia autonomous region, China. To quantify drought, we used the precipitation-based Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), the soil moisture-based Crop Moisture Index (CMI), as well as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Correlation analysis was conducted to examine the relationships between dekad-scale drought indices during the growing season (May–September) and final yield, according to data collection from 2000 to 2010. The results show that crop yield has positive relationships with CMI from mid-June to mid-July and with the NDVI anomaly throughout July, but no correlation with SPI. Further analysis of the relationship between the two drought indices shows that the NDVI anomaly responds to CMI with a lag of 1 dekad, particularly in July. To examine the feasibility of employing these indices for monitoring the drought process at a dekad time scale, a detailed drought assessment was carried out for selected drought years. The results confirm that the soil moisture-based vegetation indices in the late vegetative to early reproductive growth stages can be used to detect agricultural drought in the study area. Therefore, the framework of the conceptual model developed for drought monitoring can be employed to support drought mitigation in the rainfed agricultural region of Northern China.

Received: 10 December 2012      Published: 10 February 2014

This research was supported by the Global Center of Excellence Project for Dryland Science of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

Corresponding Authors: Rui LI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Rui LI, Atsushi TSUNEKAWA, Mitsuru TSUBO. Index-based assessment of agricultural drought in a semi-arid region of Inner Mongolia, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(1): 3-15.

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