Articles | Volume 14, issue 10
12 Oct 2010
 | 12 Oct 2010

Space-time variability of hydrological drought and wetness in Iran using NCEP/NCAR and GPCC datasets

T. Raziei, I. Bordi, L. S. Pereira, and A. Sutera

Abstract. Space-time variability of hydrological drought and wetness over Iran is investigated using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis and the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) dataset for the common period 1948–2007. The aim is to complement previous studies on the detection of long-term trends in drought/wetness time series and on the applicability of reanalysis data for drought monitoring in Iran. Climate conditions of the area are assessed through the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) on 24-month time scale, while Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Varimax rotation are used for investigating drought/wetness variability, and drought regionalization, respectively. Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA) is applied to the time series of interest to extract the leading nonlinear components and compare them with linear fittings.

Differences in drought and wetness area coverage resulting from the two datasets are discussed also in relation to the change occurred in recent years. NCEP/NCAR and GPCC are in good agreement in identifying four sub-regions as principal spatial modes of drought variability. However, the climate variability in each area is not univocally represented by the two datasets: a good agreement is found for south-eastern and north-western regions, while noticeable discrepancies occur for central and Caspian sea regions. A comparison with NCEP Reanalysis II for the period 1979–2007, seems to exclude that the discrepancies are merely due to the introduction of satellite data into the reanalysis assimilation scheme.