Articles | Volume 24, issue 9
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 4541–4565, 2020
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 4541–4565, 2020

Research article 21 Sep 2020

Research article | 21 Sep 2020

A universal Standardized Precipitation Index candidate distribution function for observations and simulations

Patrick Pieper et al.

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Cited articles

Adler, R. F., Huffman, G. J., Chang, A., Ferraro, R., Xie, P.-P., Janowiak, J., Rudolf, B., Schneider, U., Curtis, S., Bolvin, D., Gruber, A., Susskind, J., Arkin, P., and Nelkin, E.: The version-2 global precipitation climatology project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979–present), J. Hydrometeorol., 4, 1147–1167, 2003. a
Akaike, H.: A new look at the statistical model identification, in: Selected Papers of Hirotugu Akaike, IEEE T. Automat. Control, 19, 716–723, 1974. a, b
Baehr, J., Fröhlich, K., Botzet, M., Domeisen, D. I., Kornblueh, L., Notz, D., Piontek, R., Pohlmann, H., Tietsche, S., and Mueller, W. A.: The prediction of surface temperature in the new seasonal prediction system based on the MPI-ESM coupled climate model, Clim. Dynam., 44, 2723–2735, 2015. a
Beguería, S. and Vicente-Serrano, S. M.: Calculation of the Standardised Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index, available at: (last access: 11 September 2020), 2017. a
Bélisle, C. J.: Convergence theorems for a class of simulated annealing algorithms on d, J. Appl. Probabil., 29, 885–895, 1992. a
Short summary
The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a widely accepted drought index. SPI normalizes the precipitation distribution via a probability density function (PDF). However, which PDF properly normalizes SPI is still disputed. We suggest using a previously mostly overlooked PDF, namely the exponentiated Weibull distribution. The proposed PDF ensures the normality of the index. We demonstrate this – for the first time – for all common accumulation periods in both observations and simulations.