Connections between meteorological and hydrological droughts in a semi-arid basin of the middle Yellow River

Li, Binquan; Zhu, Changchang; Liang, Zhongmin; Wang, Guoqing; Zhang, Yu

Differences between meteorological and hydrological droughts could reflect the regional water consumption by both natural elements and human water-use. The connections between these two drought types were analyzed using the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and Standardized Streamflow Index (SSI), respectively. In a typical semi-arid basin of the middle Yellow River (Qingjianhe River basin), annual precipitation and air temperature showed significantly downward and upward trends, respectively, with the rates of inline-formula−2.37 mm yrinline-formula−1 and 0.03 inline-formulaC yrinline-formula−1 (1961–2007). Under their synthetic effects, water balance variable (represented by SPEI) showed obviously downward (drying) trend at both upstream and whole basin areas. For the spatial variability of precipitation, air temperature and the calculated SPEI, both upstream and downstream areas experienced very similar change characteristics. Results also suggested that the Qingjianhe River basin experienced near normal condition during the study period. As a whole, this semi-arid basin mainly had the meteorological drought episodes in the mid-1960s, late-1990s and the 2000s depicted by 12-month SPEI. The drying trend could also be depicted by the hydrological drought index (12-month SSI) at both upstream and downstream stations (Zichang and Yanchuan), but the decreasing trends were not significant. A correlation analysis showed that hydrological system responds rapidly to the change of meteorological conditions in this semi-arid region. This finding could be an useful implication to drought research for those semi-arid basins with intensive human activities.

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Li, Binquan / Zhu, Changchang / Liang, Zhongmin / et al: Connections between meteorological and hydrological droughts in a semi-arid basin of the middle Yellow River. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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