Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 499484
Title Multiscale evaluation of the Standardized Precipitation Index as a groundwater drought indicator
Author(s) Kumar, Rohini; Musuuza, Jude L.; Loon, Anne F. Van; Teuling, Ryan; Barthel, Roland; Broek, Jurriaan Ten; Mai, Juliane; Samaniego, Luis; Attinger, Sabine
Source Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 20 (2016)3. - ISSN 1027-5606 - p. 1117 - 1131.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-1117-2016
Department(s) Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract

The lack of comprehensive groundwater observations at regional and global scales has promoted the use of alternative proxies and indices to quantify and predict groundwater droughts. Among them, the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is commonly used to characterize droughts in different compartments of the hydro-meteorological system. In this study, we explore the suitability of the SPI to characterize local- and regional-scale groundwater droughts using observations at more than 2000 groundwater wells in geologically different areas in Germany and the Netherlands. A multiscale evaluation of the SPI is performed using the station data and their corresponding 0.5° gridded estimates to analyze the local and regional behavior of groundwater droughts, respectively. The standardized anomalies in the groundwater heads (SGI) were correlated against SPIs obtained using different accumulation periods. The accumulation periods to achieve maximum correlation exhibited high spatial variability (ranges 3-36 months) at both scales, leading to the conclusion that an a priori selection of the accumulation period (for computing the SPI) would result in inadequate characterization of groundwater droughts. The application of the uniform accumulation periods over the entire domain significantly reduced the correlation between the SPI and SGI (∼ 21-66%), indicating the limited applicability of the SPI as a proxy for groundwater droughts even at long accumulation times. Furthermore, the low scores of the hit rate (0.3-0.6) and a high false alarm ratio (0.4-0.7) at the majority of the wells and grid cells demonstrated the low reliability of groundwater drought predictions using the SPI. The findings of this study highlight the pitfalls of using the SPI as a groundwater drought indicator at both local and regional scales, and stress the need for more groundwater observations and accounting for regional hydrogeological characteristics in groundwater drought monitoring.

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