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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2017, Article ID 4650284, 11 pages
Research Article

Exploration of Use of Copulas in Analysing the Relationship between Precipitation and Meteorological Drought in Beijing, China

1College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Hydrological Cycle and Sponge City Technology, Beijing 100875, China
2Agricultural Water Conservancy Department, Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute, Wuhan 430015, China
3Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL 60439, USA
4State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Hongrui Wang; nc.ude.unb@gnawyrneh

Received 15 December 2016; Revised 21 February 2017; Accepted 14 March 2017; Published 16 May 2017

Academic Editor: Stefano Dietrich

Copyright © 2017 Linlin Fan 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.


Drought risk analysis is essential for regional water resource management. In this study, the probabilistic relationship between precipitation and meteorological drought in Beijing, China, was calculated under three different precipitation conditions (precipitation equal to, greater than, or less than a threshold) based on copulas. The Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) was calculated based on monthly total precipitation and monthly mean temperature data. The trends and variations in the SPEI were analysed using Hilbert-Huang Transform (HHT) and Mann-Kendall (MK) trend tests with a running approach. The results of the HHT and MK test indicated a significant decreasing trend in the SPEI. The copula-based conditional probability indicated that the probability of meteorological drought decreased as monthly precipitation increased and that 10 mm can be regarded as the threshold for triggering extreme drought. From a quantitative perspective, when  mm, the probabilities of moderate drought, severe drought, and extreme drought were 22.1%, 18%, and 13.6%, respectively. This conditional probability distribution not only revealed the occurrence of meteorological drought in Beijing but also provided a quantitative way to analyse the probability of drought under different precipitation conditions. Thus, the results provide a useful reference for future drought prediction.