Integrated TRMM Data and Standardized Precipitation Index to Monitor the Meteorological Drought
Droughts are a major problem in Iraq especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands where they are frequent and causes a great deal of suffering and loss. Drought monitoring and forecasting requires extensive climate and meteorological data which is usually largely missing in developing countries or not available in the required spatial and temporal resolutions. In this study, the drought categories were defined for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2017 using the TRMM data to map the spatiotemporal meteorological drought, and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) to analyze the meteorological drought at 11 stations located in Western Iraq. The SPI analyses were performed on 12-month datasets for five years. The results showed that the northeast region has the higher rainfall indices and the southwest region has the lowest rainfall. An analysis of the drought and rain conditions showed that the quantity of extreme drought events was higher than that expected in the study area, especially in the south and southwest areas. Therefore, an alternate classification is proposed to describe the drought, which spatially classifies the drought type as mild, moderate, severe and extreme. In conclusion, the integration between TRMM data SPI data proved to be an effective tool to map the spatial distribution and drought assessment in the study area.
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