ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING OF AGRICULTURAL DROUGHTS IN MAHARASHTRA USING METEOROLOGICAL AND REMOTE SENSING BASED INDICES
Drought is a recurring climatic event characterized by slow onset, a gradual increase in its intensity, and persistence for a long period depending upon the availability of water. Droughts, broadly classified into meteorological, hydrological and agricultural drought, which are interconnected to each other. India, being an agriculture based economy depends primarily on agriculture production for its economic development and stability. The occurrence of agriculture drought affects the agricultural yield, which affects the regional economy to a larger extent. In present study, agricultural and meteorological drought in Maharashtra state was monitored using traditional as well as remote sensing methods. The meteorological drought assessment and characterization is done using two standard meteorological drought indices viz. standard precipitation index (SPI) and effective drought index (EDI). The severity and persistency of meteorological drought were studied using SPI for the period 1901 to 2015. However, accuracy of SPI in detection of sub-monthly drought is limited. Therefore, sub-monthly drought is effectively monitored using EDI. The monthly and sub-monthly drought mapped using SPI and EDI, respectively were then compared and assessed. It was concluded that EDI serves as a better indicator to monitor sub-monthly droughts. The agricultural drought monitoring was carried out using the remote sensing based indices such as vegetation condition index (VCI), temperature condition index (TCI), vegetation health index (VHI), shortwave angle slope index (SASI) and the index which maps the agricultural drought in a better way was identified. The area under drought as calculated by various agricultural drought indices compared with that of the EDI, it was found that the results of SASI matched with results of EDI. SASI denotes different values for the dry and wet soil and for the healthy and sparse vegetation. SASI monitors the agricultural drought better as compared to other indices used in this study.