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Analysis of Meteorological Drought in the Ruhr Basin by Using the Standardized Precipitation Index

Authors: Mosaad Khadr, Gerd Morgenschweis, Andreas Schlenkhoff


Drought is one of the most damaging climate-related hazards, it is generally considered as a prolonged absence of precipitation. This normal and recurring climate phenomenon had plagued civilization throughout history because of the negative impacts on economical, environmental and social sectors. Drought characteristics are thus recognized as important factors in water resources planning and management. The purpose of this study is to detect the changes in drought frequency, persistence and severity in the Ruhr river basin. The frequency of drought events was calculated using the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Used data are daily precipitation records from seven meteorological stations covering the period 1961-2007. The main benefit of the application of this index is its versatility, only rainfall data is required to deliver five major dimensions of a drought : duration, intensity, severity, magnitude, and frequency. Furthermore, drought can be calculated in different time steps. In this study SPI was calculated for 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 months. Several drought events were detected in the covered period, these events contain mild, moderate and severe droughts. Also positive and negative trends in the SPI values were observed.

Keywords: Precipitation, Drought, Germany, Ruhr River, Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), Trend Test

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