Global drought monitoring with drought severity index (DSI) using Google Earth Engine

Khan, Ramla and Gilani, Hammad (2021). Global drought monitoring with drought severity index (DSI) using Google Earth Engine. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 146(1-2) pp. 411–427.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-021-03715-9

Abstract

Abstract: Unlike most disasters, drought does not appear abruptly. It slowly builds over time due to the changes in different environmental and climatological factors. It is one of the deadly disasters that has plagued almost every region of the globe since early civilization. Droughts are scientifically being studied with the help of either simple or composite indices. At 500-m spatial resolution, this study presents global scale drought severity index (DSI), a composite index using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), 8-day temporal resolution evapotranspiration (ET), potential evapotranspiration (PET), and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). This index is mainly used to identify meteorological droughts and also has proven reliable for studying agriculture droughts. In this study, Google Earth Engine (GEE), a cloud-based geospatial data computational platform, is used for drought mapping and monitoring from 2001 to 2019. For annual DSI spatial maps, the statistical median is computed ranging from − 1 to + 1, which means drought struck or dry regions have values closer to negative, and wet zones have values near to positive. For the validity of DSI results, the findings are compared with available records of droughts struck in previous years. This study declares that continent-wise, Australia, Africa, and Asia have the most extreme and frequent drought events while South America and North America come a close second. Europe is the least affected by this particular weather event when compared to other continents.

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