04 May 2023
 | 04 May 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Drought intensity-duration-frequency curves based on deficit in precipitation and streamflow for water resources management

Yonca Cavus, Kerstin Stahl, and Hafzullah Aksoy

Abstract. Drought estimates in terms of physically measurable variables such as precipitation deficit or streamflow deficit are key knowledge for an effective water management. How these deficits vary with the drought event severity indicated by commonly used standardized indices is often unclear. Drought characteristics assigned the same value in index are not necessarily the same in different regions, and in different months of the same region. We investigate drought to remove this disadvantage of the index-based drought IDF curves and develop intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves in terms of the associated deficit. In order to study the variation of deficits, we use the link between precipitation and streamflow, and the associated indices, standardized precipitation index (SPI) and standardized streamflow index (SSI). More specifically, the analysis relies on frequency analysis combined with the total probability theorem applied to the critical drought severity. The critical drought has varying durations and it is extracted from dry periods. IDF curves in terms of precipitation and streamflow deficits for the most severe drought of each drought duration in each year are then subject to comparison of statistical characteristics of droughts for different return periods. Precipitation and streamflow data from two catchments, the Seyhan River (Turkey) and the Kocher River (Germany) provide examples for two climatically and hydrologically different cases. A comparison of the two cases allows to test a similar method in different hydrological conditions. We found that precipitation and streamflow deficits vary systematically reflecting seasonality and the magnitude of precipitation and streamflow characteristics of the catchments. Deficits change from one month to another at a given station. Higher precipitation deficits were observed in winter months compared to summer months. Additionally, we assessed observed past major droughts experienced in both catchments on the IDF curves which show that the major droughts have return periods at the order of 100 years at short durations. This coincides with the observation in the catchments and shows the applicability of the IDF curves. The IDF curves can be considered a tool for using in a range of specific activities of agriculture, ecology, industry, energy, water supply etc. This is particularly important to end-users and decision-makers to act against the drought quickly and precisely in a more physically understandable manner.

Yonca Cavus et al.

Status: open (until 29 Jun 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2023-107', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 May 2023 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Yonca Cavus, 02 Jun 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2023-107', Anonymous Referee #2, 04 Jun 2023 reply
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Yonca Cavus, 06 Jun 2023 reply

Yonca Cavus et al.

Yonca Cavus et al.


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Short summary
With intensified extremes under change water demand increases. Every drop of water is much more valuable than before when drought is experienced particularly. We developed drought intensity-duration-frequency curves by using physical indicators, the deficit in precipitation and streamflow, for a more straightforward interpretation. Tests with the observed major droughts in two climatologically different catchments confirmed the practical applicability of the curves under drought conditions.