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Zhang L.,Lanzhou University | Zhang L.,Institute of Arid Meteorological and Key Laboratory of Arid Climate Change and Disaster Reduction | Zhang H.,Khan Research Laboratories | Zhang Q.,Lanzhou University | And 3 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Climatology | Year: 2016

The potential of using land surface models (LSMs) to monitor near-real-time drought has not been fully assessed in China yet. In this study, we analyze the performance of such a system with a land surface model (LSM) named the Australian Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange model (CABLE). The meteorological forcing datasets based on reanalysis products and corrected by observational data have been extended to near-real time for semi-operational trial. CABLE-simulated soil moisture (SM) anomalies are used to characterize drought spatial and temporal evolutions. One outstanding feature in our analysis is that with the same meteorological data, we have calculated a range of drought indices including Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), Standardized Precipitation-Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). We have assessed the similarity among these indices against observed SM over a number of regions in China. While precipitation is the dominant factor in the drought development, relationships between precipitation, evaporation, and soil moisture anomalies vary significantly under different climate regimes, resulting in different characteristics of droughts in China. The LSM-based trial system is further evaluated for the 1997/1998 drought in northern China and 2009/2010 drought in southwestern China. The system can capture the severities and temporal and spatial evolutions of these drought events well. The advantage of using a LSM-based drought monitoring system is further demonstrated by its potential to monitor other consequences of drought impacts in a more physically consistent manner. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Wien

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