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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 327374, 8 pages
Research Article

Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index Based on Distributed Hydrological Simulation

1Department of Water Resources, State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
2Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
3College of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China

Received 5 February 2013; Accepted 27 May 2013

Academic Editor: Yongping Li

Copyright © 2013 Denghua Yan 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 monitoring at large scale is essential for fighting against drought. Aiming at the limitation of acquiring long-time serial soil moisture and actual evapotranspiration for Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), the paper modified the PDSI based on distributed hydrological model on subbasin level in Luanhe river basin, North China. The water balance was simulated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Calibration and validation results showed good agreement between simulated and measured discharges, and the SWAT model can be used to predict hydrological processes in the study area. Then the simulation results of main hydrologic components were used to establish PDSI. The verification of the drought indices showed that the modified PDSI based on SWAT model and Palmer drought severity index could better describe the characteristics of regional drought evolution in the Luanhe river basin. High drought frequency areas were mainly distributed in the grassland regions of upstream located in the eastern part of Inner Mongolia plateau, and the drought area had a significant upward trend form 1973 to 2010. Compared with the traditional Palmer drought severity index, the modified PDSI could reflect the spatial heterogeneity of regional drought and improve the physical mechanism of PDSI. The drought monitoring method can provide technical support for comprehensive understanding of drought and effective preventing and relieving of drought disasters.