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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2016, Article ID 2890852, 10 pages
Research Article

Cumulative Effect of Precipitation Deficit Preceding Severe Droughts in Southwestern and Southern China

Institute of Arid Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration (CMA), Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Disaster Reduction of CMA, Key Laboratory of Arid Climatic Change and Disaster Reduction of Gansu Province, Lanzhou 730020, China

Received 1 December 2015; Accepted 7 March 2016

Academic Editor: Amit Chakraborty

Copyright © 2016 Su-ping Wang 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.


Timely and accurate monitoring of droughts is important for implementing an effective response and for minimizing economic losses. In this paper, the duration and amount of deficit in precipitation before every severe drought were analyzed for 124 meteorological stations based on the weather data from 1961 to 2012. The results showed that deficit in precipitation over a period as short as three months or even shorter could lead to severe drought and the cumulative timescales of precipitation deficit in southwestern China were longer than those in southern China. The distribution of the critical amount of precipitation deficit showed a clear regional difference. Deficits in the western parts of southwestern China and parts of southern China are above 60%, or even above 80%, higher than the other area ranging between 40% and 60%. On the whole, the critical amount of the deficit preceding severe droughts for the humid southwestern and southern China was lower than that for the semiarid and semihumid areas. The results offer a sound basis for monitoring and forecasting droughts in southern and southwestern China and for issuing early warnings.