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A drought index accounting for snow


Staudinger, Maria; Stahl, Kerstin; Seibert, Jan (2014). A drought index accounting for snow. Water Resources Research, 50(10):7861-7872.

Abstract

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is the most widely used index to characterize droughts that are related to precipitation deficiencies. However, the SPI does not always deliver the relevant information for hydrological drought management particularly in snow-influenced catchments. If precipitation is temporarily stored as snow, then there is a significant difference between meteorological and hydrological drought because the delayed release of melt water to the stream. We introduce an extension to the SPI, the Standardized Snow Melt and Rain Index (SMRI), that accounts for rain and snow melt deficits, which effectively influence streamflow. The SMRI can be derived without snow data, using temperature and precipitation to model snow. The value of the new index is illustrated for seven Swiss catchments with different degrees of snow influence. In particular for catchments with a larger component of snowmelt in runoff generation, the SMRI was found to be a worthwhile complementary index to the SPI to characterize streamflow droughts.

Abstract

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is the most widely used index to characterize droughts that are related to precipitation deficiencies. However, the SPI does not always deliver the relevant information for hydrological drought management particularly in snow-influenced catchments. If precipitation is temporarily stored as snow, then there is a significant difference between meteorological and hydrological drought because the delayed release of melt water to the stream. We introduce an extension to the SPI, the Standardized Snow Melt and Rain Index (SMRI), that accounts for rain and snow melt deficits, which effectively influence streamflow. The SMRI can be derived without snow data, using temperature and precipitation to model snow. The value of the new index is illustrated for seven Swiss catchments with different degrees of snow influence. In particular for catchments with a larger component of snowmelt in runoff generation, the SMRI was found to be a worthwhile complementary index to the SPI to characterize streamflow droughts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:28 Nov 2014 12:36
Last Modified:20 May 2018 06:39
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0043-1397
Additional Information:Copyright 2014 American Geophysical Union
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/2013WR015143

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