Evaluation and assessment of meteorological drought by different methods in Trarza Region, Mauritania
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Drought Indexes (DIs) are commonly used for assessing the effect of drought such as the duration and severity. In this study, long term precipitation records (monthly recorded for 44 years) in three stations (Boutilimit (station 1), Nouakchott (station 2), and Rosso (station 3)) are employed to investigate the drought characteristics in Trarza region in Mauritania. Six DI methods, namely normal Standardized Precipitation Index (normal-SPI), log normal Standardized Precipitation Index (log-SPI), Standardized Precipitation Index using Gamma distribution (Gamma-SPI), Percent of Normal (PN), the China-Z index (CZI), and Deciles are used for this purpose. The DI methods are based on 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12 month time periods. The results showed that DIs produce almost the same results for the Trarza region. The droughts are detected in the seventies and eighties more than the 1990s. Twelve drought years might be experienced in station 2 and six in stations 1 and 3 in every 44 years, according to reoccurrence probability of the gamma-SPI and log-SPI results. Stations 1 and 3 might experience fewer drought years than station 2, which is located right on the coast. In station 1, which is located inland, when the annual rainfall is less than 123 mm, it is likely that severe drought would occur. This is 63 mm/year for station 2 and 205 mm/year for station 3 which is located in the south west on the Senegal River. DI results indicate that the CZI and the gamma-SPI methods make similar predictions and the log-SPI makes extreme drought predictions for the monthly period for all the stations. For longer periods (3-, 6-, and 12 month period), for all the stations, the log-SPI and the gamma-SPI produce similar results, making severe drought predictions while the normal-SPI and the CZI methods predict more wet and fewer drought cases. The log-SPI, the gamma-SPI, PN and Deciles were able to capture the historical extreme and severe droughts observed in early 1970s and early 1980s.