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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2017, Article ID 6837493, 9 pages
Research Article

Assessing the Impacts of the 2009/2010 Drought on Vegetation Indices, Normalized Difference Water Index, and Land Surface Temperature in Southwestern China

1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, D2-1(510), Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
2Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 73 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China
3State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 818 South Beijing Road, Urumqi, Xinjiang 830011, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Xiaoqiang Zhang; moc.liamg@gnahzqx.rd, Fei Li;, and Bin He; moc.qq@nibehyh

Received 26 October 2016; Accepted 4 January 2017; Published 24 January 2017

Academic Editor: Herminia García Mozo

Copyright © 2017 Xiaoqiang Zhang 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.


Droughts are projected to increase in severity and frequency on both regional and global scales. Despite the increasing occurrence and intensity of the 2009/2010 drought in southwestern China, the impacts of drought on vegetation in this region remain unclear. We examined the impacts of the 2009/2010 drought in southwestern China on vegetation by calculating the standardized anomalies of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), and Land Surface Temperature (LST). The standardized anomalies of NDVI, EVI, and NDWI exhibited positively skewed frequency distributions, while the standardized anomalies of LST exhibited a negatively skewed frequency distribution. These results implied that the NDVI, EVI, and NDWI declined, while LST increased in the 2009/2010 drought-stricken vegetated areas during the drought period. The responses of vegetation to the 2009/2010 drought differed substantially among biomes. Savannas, croplands, and mixed forests were more vulnerable to the 2009/2010 drought than deciduous forest and grasslands, while evergreen forest was resistant to the 2009/2010 drought in southwestern China. We concluded that the 2009/2010 drought had negative impacts on vegetation in southwestern China. The resulting assessment on the impacts of drought assists in evaluating and mitigating its adverse effects in southwestern China.