Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Drought in Central Asia during 2002-2017 Based on Grace Data

Version 1 : Received: 6 September 2021 / Approved: 6 September 2021 / Online: 6 September 2021 (13:15:03 CEST)

How to cite: Feng, K.; Zhang, Y.; Cao, Y.; Shen, Y. Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Drought in Central Asia during 2002-2017 Based on Grace Data. Preprints 2021, 2021090096 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0096.v1). Feng, K.; Zhang, Y.; Cao, Y.; Shen, Y. Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Drought in Central Asia during 2002-2017 Based on Grace Data. Preprints 2021, 2021090096 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202109.0096.v1).

Abstract

With the influences of climate change and human activities, the resources and environment of “One Belt and One Road” are facing severe problems and challenges. This study aims to analyze the temporal and spatial dynamics of the drought environment and the response of vegetation cover to the drought by using drought indicators. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) drought severity index (GRACE-DSI) and GRACE water storage deficit index (GRACE-WSDI), were calculated to present hydrological drought. Moreover, based on GRACE, Water-Global Assessment and Prognosis (WaterGAP) model, and Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) data, the groundwater in Central Asia was retrieved to calculate the groundwater drought index called the GRACE Standardized Groundwater Level Index (GRACE-SGI). The results show that the annual precipitation in Central Asia increased slightly at a rate of 0.39 mm/year (p = 0.82) since 2000, while the temperature increased slightly at a rate of 0.05 ℃/year (p = 0.10). The water storage decreased significantly at -0.59 mm/year (p <0.01) and experienced a decrease-increase-decrease process. During the study period, the arid situation in Central Asia deteriorated, especially in the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea basin. From 2007 to 2015, the Central Asian environment was generally arid and suffered from different du-rations and degrees of hydrological and groundwater droughts. The drought indicators (i.e., GRACE-DSI, GRACE-WSDI) and the NDVI showed a significantly positive correlation during the growing season. However, the NDVI of cultivated land and grassland distribution areas in Central Asia showed a strong negative correlation with GRACE-SGI. It is concluded that the drought environment in Central Asia affected the growth of vegetation. The continued deterioration of the arid situation may further stress the ecological system in Central Asia.

Keywords

Central Asia; GRACE; drought; vegetation; water storage; groundwater

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