Characteristics of Clustering Extreme Drought Events in China During 1961-2010


  • Based on the Multi-Scale Standardized Precipitation Index (MSPI), extreme severe drought events in China during 1961-2010 were identified, and the seasonal, annual, and interdecadal variations of the clustering extreme drought events were investigated by using the spatial point process theory. It is found that severe droughts present a trend of gradual increase as a result of the significant increase and clustering tendency of severe droughts in autumn. The periodicity analysis of the clustering extreme droughts in different seasons suggests that there is a remarkable interdecadal change in the occurrence of clustering extreme droughts in winter. Meanwhile, it is revealed that the clustering extreme drought events exhibit greatly different annual mean spatial distributions during 1961-2010, with scattered and concentrated clustering zones alternating on the decadal timescale. Furthermore, it is found that the decadal-mean spatial distributions of extreme drought events in summer are correlated out of phase with those of the rainy bands over China in the past 50 years, and a good decadal persistence exists between the autumn and winter extreme droughts, implying a salient feature of consecutive autumn-winter droughts in this 50-yr period. Compared with other regions of China, Southwest China bears the most prominent characteristic of clustering extreme droughts.
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