Complex influences of meteorological drought time-scales on hydrological droughts in natural basins of the contiguous United States

Peña-Gallardo, Marina; Vicente-Serrano, Sergio M.; Hannaford, Jamie ORCID:; Lorenzo-Lacruz, Jorge; Svoboda, Mark; Domínguez-Castro, Fernando; Maneta, Marco; Tomas-Burguera, Miquel; Kenawy, Ahmed El. 2019 Complex influences of meteorological drought time-scales on hydrological droughts in natural basins of the contiguous United States. Journal of Hydrology, 568. 611-625.

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We analyzed the relationships between meteorological drought and hydrological drought using very dense and diverse network of gauged natural drainage basins across the conterminous U.S. Specifically, this work utilized a dataset of 289 gauging stations, covering the period 1940–2013. Drainage basins were obtained for each gauging station using a digital terrain model. In addition to meteorological data (e.g., precipitation, air temperature and the atmospheric evaporative demand), we obtained a number of topographic, soil and remote sensing variables for each defined drainage basin. A hydrological drought index (the Standardized Streamflow Index; SSI) was computed for each basin and linked to the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), which was used as a metric of climatic drought severity. The relationships between different SPEI time-scales and their corresponding SSI were assessed by means of a Pearson correlation coefficient. Also, the general patterns of response of hydrological droughts to climatic droughts were identified using a principal component analysis. Overall, results demonstrate a positive response of SSI to SPEI at shorter time-scales, with strong seasonality and clear spatial differences. We also assessed the role of some climatic and environmental factors in explaining these different responses using a predictive discriminant analysis. Results indicate that elevation and vegetation coverage are the main drivers of the diverse response of SSI to SPEI time-scales. Similar analyses were made for three sub-periods (1940–1964, 1965–1989 and 1989–2013), whose results confirm considerable differences in the response of SSI to SPEI over the past eighty years.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0022-1694
Additional Keywords: hydrological drought, climatic drought, time-scales, drought propagation, SPEI, natural basins, climate variability
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 07 Feb 2019 17:30 +0 (UTC)

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