Regional Frequency Analysis of Droughts in China: A Multivariate Perspective Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Joint probability behavior of droughts is important for China due to the fact that China is the agricultural country with the largest population in the world and it is particularly the case in the backdrop of intensifying weather extremes in a warming climate. In this case, regionalization of droughts is done using Fuzzy C- Means (FCM) clustering technique and also multivariate L-moment method. Besides, copula is used to estimate regional joint probability in terms of drought duration and severity. Evaluation of uncertainty in the joint probability curves is done using the Bootstrap resampling technique. The results indicate that: (1) five homogenous regions of droughts are subdivided. Regionalization in this study clarified the changing properties or nature of droughts, i.e., the blurred or ambiguous boundaries of the drought-impacted regions; (2) droughts in the northwest China are characterized by longer drought duration and larger drought severity, and the occurrence of the droughts in the northwest China is subject to be higher due to longer waiting time between drought events. Adverse is found for changes of droughts in the southeast China. The droughts in the north China are moderate in terms of drought duration and severity and also waiting time between drought events when compared to those in the northwest and southeast China; (3) the regional joint frequency curves are obtained with respect to drought duration and severity using the bivariate copula functions. Then the joint probabilities of droughts can be calculated using the regional probability curves and also results of mean drought duration, drought severity and waiting time between drought events. Furthermore, droughts in the regions without meteorological data can also be estimated in terms of joint probability using index-drought method proposed in this study. This study will provides theoretical and practical grounds for development and enhancement of human mitigation to drought hazards in China, and is of great importance in terms of planning and management of water resources and agricultural activities in the backdrop of intensifying weather extremes under the influences of warming climate.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Q., Qi, T., Singh, V. P., Chen, Y. D., & Xiao, M.

citation count

  • 57

publication date

  • April 2015