A Hydroclimatological assessment of the regional drought vulnerability: A Case Study for Indiana drought

By Dev Niyogi

Purdue University

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Characterizing and developing drought climatology continues to be a
challenging problem. Also as decision makers seek guidance on water management
strategies, there is a need for assessing the performance of drought indices. This requires the
adaptation of regionally appropriate, drought indices for monitoring droughts and
hydrological vulnerability at a regional scale. This study focuses on hydroclimatological
assessment of drought variability to develop a statewide water shortage and assessment plan
(WSP) for the state of Indiana, USA. Drought climatology was assessed using in-situ
observations and regional reanalysis data. A summary of precipitation and evaporation
trends, as well as the estimation of drought variability, the worst case droughts, drought
return period, and frequency and duration, using multiple drought indices, and stream flow
analysis was undertaken. Results indicate regional and local variability in drought
susceptibility. In the worst case (200 year return period), Indiana has a 0.4% probability to
receive 45% of normal precipitation over 12 month drought in any years. Consistent with
other studies, the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) was found to be appropriate for
detecting short-term drought conditions over Indiana. This recommendation has now been
incorporated in the 2009 Indiana Water Shortage Plan. The study also highlights the
difficulties in identifying the past drought from climatic data and the results suggest high
degree of uncertainty in making drought predictions using future climatic projections.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Dev Niyogi (2011), "A Hydroclimatological assessment of the regional drought vulnerability: A Case Study for Indiana drought,"

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