Entropy-Aided Evaluation of Meteorological Droughts Over China Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Evaluation of drought and its spatial distribution is essential to develop mitigation measures. In this study, we employed the entropy index to investigate the spatiotemporal variability of meteorological droughts over China. Entropy values, with a reliable hydrological and geographical basis, are closely related to the months of precipitation deficit and its mean magnitude and can thus represent the physical formation of droughts. The value of entropy index can be roughly classified as <0.35, 0.360.90, and >0.90, reflecting high, middle, and low occurrence probabilities of droughts. The accumulated precipitation deficits, based on the standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index at the 1, 3, 6, and 12month scales, consistently increase with entropy decrease, no matter considering the moderately, severely, or extremely dry conditions. Therefore, Northwest China and North China, with smaller entropy values, have higher occurrence probability of droughts than South China, with a break at 38N latitude. The aggravating droughts in North China and Southwest China over recent decades are represented by the increase in both the occurrence frequency and the magnitude. The entropy, determined by absolute magnitude of the difference between precipitation and potential evapotranspiration, as well as its scatter and skewness characteristics, is easily calculated and can be an effective index for evaluating drought and its spatial distribution. We therefore identified dominant thresholds for entropy values and statistical characteristics of precipitation deficit, which would help evaluate the occurrence probability of droughts worldwide.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Sang, Y., Singh, V. P., Hu, Z., Xie, P., & Li, X.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Sang, Yan-Fang||Singh, Vijay P||Hu, Zengyun||Xie, Ping||Li, Xinxin

publication date

  • January 2018