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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 7986568, 10 pages
Research Article

Drought Assessment by a Short-/Long-Term Composited Drought Index in the Upper Huaihe River Basin, China

1College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2Center for International River Research, School of Business, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
3Hydrology and Water Resources Department, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Nanjing 210024, China
4Hydrology Bureau of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang 332000, China

Received 29 May 2015; Accepted 4 October 2015

Academic Editor: Mohsin Hafeez

Copyright © 2016 Meixiu Yu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Accurate and reliable drought monitoring is of primary importance for drought mitigation and reduction of social-ecological vulnerability. The aim of the paper was to propose a multiscale composited drought index (CDI) which could be widely used for drought monitoring and early warning in China. In the study, the upper Huaihe River basin above the Xixian gauge station, which has been hit by severe droughts frequently in recent decades, was selected as the case study site. The newly built short-term/long-term CDI comprehensively considered three natural forms of drought (meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural) by selection of different variables that are related to each drought type. The short-term/long-term CDI was developed using the Principle Component Analysis of related drought components. The thresholds of the short-term/long-term CDI were determined according to frequency statistics of different drought indices. Finally, the feasibility of the two CDI was investigated against the self-calibrating Palmer drought severity index, the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index, and the historical drought records. The results revealed that the short-term/long-term CDI could capture the onset, severity, and persistence of drought events very well with the former being better at identifying the dynamic evolution of drought condition and the latter better at judging the changing trend of drought over a long time period.