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Copula-based drought analysis using Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index: A case study in the Yellow river basin, China

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Zhenhong Li



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019 by the authors.Drought is a complex natural phenomenon that occurs throughout the world. Analyzing and grasping the occurrence and development of drought events is of great practical significance for preventing drought disasters. In this study, the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) was adopted as a drought index to quantitatively analyze the temporal evolution, spatial distribution, and gridded trend characteristics of drought in the Yellow River basin (YRB) during 1961-2015. The duration and severity of drought events were extracted based on run theory, and the best-fitted Copula models were used to combine the drought duration and severity to analyze the drought return period. The results indicated that: (1) the drought showed a non-significant upward trend in the YRB from 1961 to 2015, and drought events became more serious after the 1990s; (2) the month and season with the most serious drought was June and summer, with an average SPEI value of -0.94 and -0.70; (3) the seasons with an increasing drought trend were spring, summer, and autumn; (4) the most serious drought lasted for 16 months in the YRB, with drought severity of 12.44 and drought return period of 115.18 years; and (5) Frank-copula was found to be the best-fitted one in the YRB. The research results can reveal the evolution characteristics of drought, and provide reference and basis for drought resistance and reduction in the YRB.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wang F, Wang Z, Yang H, Zhao Y, Zhang Z, Li Z, Hussain Z

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water

Year: 2019

Volume: 11

Issue: 6

Online publication date: 21/06/2019

Acceptance date: 19/06/2019

Date deposited: 23/07/2019

ISSN (print): 2073-4441

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4441

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/w11061298


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/P015484/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)