Evaluation of Drought Characteristics in Iraq using SC-PDSI

  • Thaer K. Jawad University of Mustansiriyah
  • Osama T. Al-Taai University of Mustansiriyah
  • Yaseen K. Al-timimi University of Mustansiriyah
Keywords: Self-Calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index, Rainfall Departure from the mean, CRU, ArcGIS, Std, theory of runs


Evaluation of drought characteristics in Iraq by analysis annual growing season of Self-Calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index (SC-PDSI) for three climatic zones using run theory method. The efficiency of SC-PDSI for drought monitoring was examined from compared with Rainfall Departure from the mean (RD) for three zones (Arid and Semi-Arid, Steppes and Desert) for the period 1981-2015, were derived from Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The spatial interpolation techniques in ArcGIS package has been used, to cover the whole extent of country and extracting the zones. Statistical methods were applied to compute the probability of drought events at every zone. The results showed the years 1999, 2000, 2008 and 2009 experienced droughts in all zones except the desert zone where was experienced severe drought in 2012, while the years 1982 and 1988 experienced received precipitation above-average in all zones. The values of standard deviation of precipitation were compared with precipitation anomalies for each zone, the drier seasons are (2007-2008) and (1998-1999) in all Zones. The wetter seasons are (1987-1988) in Arid and Semi-Arid and Steppes zone, (1994-1995) and (1997-1998) are wetter seasons in Desert zone. Using run theory, the steppes zone have experienced more severe droughts than other zones evaluated in this study and the most susceptible areas to dry spell are steppes and Arid and Semi-Arid Zones during study period. While the desert zone experienced less droughts.

Author Biographies

Thaer K. Jawad, University of Mustansiriyah

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq.

Osama T. Al-Taai, University of Mustansiriyah

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq.

Yaseen K. Al-timimi, University of Mustansiriyah

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science, Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad, Iraq.


"Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), AQUASTAT website," Iraq Geography, climate and population, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries_regions/Profile_segments/IRQ-GeoPop_eng.stm.
"How inverse distance weighted interpolation works," ESRI, 2018. [Online]. Available: http://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/help/analysis/geostatistical-analyst/how-inverse-distance-weighted-interpolation-works.htm. [Accessed 16 7 2018].
"Iraqi Agrometeorological network, Agro-Climatic Zones," 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.agromet.gov.iq/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=131.
"Iraqi meteorological organization and seismology," Climate Atlas, Maps of precipitation rate and some meteorological factors, 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.meteoseism.gov.iq/atlasjavascript/rtl/magazine/Main.php?MagID=74&MagNo=1&language=arabic.
"Types of Drought Impacts," University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017. [Online]. Available: http://drought.unl.edu/Education/DroughtforKids/DroughtEffects.aspx.
A. C. Steinemann, M. J. Hayes and L. Cavalcanti, "Drought indicators and triggers. Drought and water crises," in Science, technology, and management issues, Boca Raton, FLorida, CRC Press, 2005, p. 71–92.
A. K. Mishra and V. P. Singh, "A review of drought concepts," Journal of hydrology, vol. 391, no. 1-2, pp. 202-216, 2010.
A. Mishra, V. Desai and V. Singh, "Drought forecasting using a hybrid stochastic and neural network model," Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 626-638, 2007.
D. A. Wilhite, "Drought," in Encyclopedia of earth system science, vol. 2, N. WA, Ed., San Diego, CA, Academic Press, Inc, 1992, pp. 81-92.
G. I. Arb, "Geostatistical Interpolation for Spatial Data," International Journal for Innovative Research in Multidisciplinary Field, vol. 2, no. 8, pp. 78-82, 2016.
G. Van der Schrier, J. Barichivich, K. R. Briffa and P. D. Jones, "A scPDSI-based global data set of dry and wet spells for 1901-2009," Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol. 118, pp. 4025-4048, 2013.
I. Harris, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn and D. H. Lister, "Updated high‐resolution grids of monthly climatic observations–the CRU TS3. 10 Dataset," International Journal of Climatology, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 623-642, 2014.
J. A. Dracup, K. S. Lee and E. G. Paulson, "On the definition of droughts," Water resources research, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 289-296, 1980.
J. González and J. B. Valdés, "New drought frequency index: Definition and comparative performance analysis," Water Resources Research, vol. 42, no. 11, 2006.
K. H. Zou, K. Tuncali and S. G. Silverman, "Correlation and simple linear regression," Radiology, vol. 227, no. 3, pp. 617-628, 2003.
K. Y. AL-Timimi and H. M. Al-Jiboori, "Assessment of spatial and temporal drought in Iraq during the period 1980-2010," Journal of Energy and Environment, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 219-302, 2013.
M. Zhao and S. W. Running, "Drought-induced reduction in global terrestrial net primary production from 2000 through 2009," science, vol. 329, no. 5994, pp. 940-943, 2010.
N. Wells, S. Goddard, and M. J. Hayes, "A self-calibrating palmer drought severity index," Journal of Climate, vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 2335-2351, 2004.
O. o. G. A. (OGA), "Iraq: Crop Progress Report," United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), 2010.
R. Allen, M. Smith, A. Perrier and L. S. Pereira, "An update for the definition of reference evapotranspiration," ICID bulletin, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 1-34, 1994.
R. Soppe and R. Saleh, "Report B2.1 Historical agricultural production data in Iraq," Iraq Salinity Project, The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Dubai, 2012.
S. Niemeyer, "New drought indices," Options Méditerranéennes. Série A: Séminaires Méditerranéens, vol. 80, p. 267–274, 2008.
T. J. Osborn, J. Barichivich, I. Harris, G. van der Schrier and P. D. Jones, "Monitoring global drought using the self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 97, pp. 32-36, 2016.
U. Schneider, A. Becker, P. Finger, A. Meyer-Christoffer, B. Rudolf and M. Ziese, "GPCC Full Data Reanalysis Version 7.0 at 0.5°: Monthly Land-Surface Precipitation from Rain-Gauges built on GTS-based and Historic Data," Global Precipitation Climatology Centre at Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach, Germany, 2015.
V. K. Jain, R. P. Pandey, M. K. Jain and H.-R. Byun, "Comparison of drought indices for appraisal of drought characteristics in the Ken River Basin," Weather and Climate Extremes, vol. 8, pp. 1-11, 2015.
V. M. Yevjevich, "An objective approach to definitions and investigations of continental hydrologic droughts," Hydrology papers (Colorado State University); no. 23, 1967.
W. C. Palmer, "Meteorological drought," U.S. Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Research Paper No. 45, Washington. D.C., 1965.
World Meteorological Organization, "Report on Drought and Countries Affected by Drought During 1974–1985," WMO, Geneva, 1986.
How to Cite
Jawad, T., Al-Taai, O., & Al-timimi, Y. (2018). Evaluation of Drought Characteristics in Iraq using SC-PDSI. Science Journal of University of Zakho, 6(3), 94-99. https://doi.org/10.25271/sjuoz.2018.6.3.511
Science Journal of University of Zakho