Abstract

Drought indices that compute drought events by their statistical properties are essential stratagems for the estimation of the impact of drought events on a region. This research presents a quantitative investigation of drought events by analyzing drought characteristics, considering agro-meteorological aspects in the Heilongjiang Province of China during 1980 to 2015. To examine these aspects, the Standardized Soil Moisture Index (SSI), Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), and Multivariate Standardized Drought Index were used to evaluate the drought characteristics. The results showed that almost half of the extreme and exceptional drought events occurred during 1990–92 and 2004–05. The spatiotemporal analysis of drought characteristics assisted in the estimation of the annual drought frequency (ADF, 1.20–2.70), long-term mean drought duration (MDD, 5–11 months), mean drought severity (MDS, −0.9 to −2.9), and mild conditions of mean drought intensity (MDI, −0.2 to −0.80) over the study area. The results obtained by MSDI reveal the drought onset and termination based on the combination of SPI and SSI, with onset being dominated by SPI and drought persistence being more similar to SSI behavior. The results of this study provide valuable information and can prove to be a reference framework to guide agricultural production in the region.

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