An analysis of spatial and temporal dimension of drought vulnerability in Turkey using the standardized precipitation index

Sönmez F. K. , Kömüscü A. Ü. , Erkan A., Turgu E.

Natural Hazards, vol.35, no.2, pp.243-264, 2005 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11069-004-5704-7
  • Journal Name: Natural Hazards
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.243-264
  • Keywords: Critical (threshold) rainfall, Drought, Drought vulnerability, SPI, Turkey


Drought has become a recurrent phenomenon in Turkey in the last few decades. Significant drought conditions were observed during years of late 1980s and the trend continued in the late 1990s. The country's agricultural sector and water resources have been under severe constraints from the recurrent droughts. In this study, spatial and temporal dimensions of meteorological droughts in Turkey have been investigated from vulnerability concept. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) method was used to detail geographical variations in the drought vulnerability based on frequency and severity of drought events at multiple time steps. Critical (threshold) rainfall values were derived for each station at multiple-time steps in varying drought categories to determine least amount of rainfall required to avoid from drought initiation. The study found that drought vulnerability portrays a very diverse but consistent picture with varying time steps. At regional scale, south-eastern and eastern Anatolia are characterized with moderate droughts at shorter time steps, while the occurrence of severe droughts at shorter time steps is observed at non-coastal parts of the country. A similar picture was observed with very severe droughts. The critical (threshold) values exhibited rising numbers during the growing season at 3-month step in the South-eastern Anatolia, which might have significant consequences considering presence of large irrigation projects under-development in the region. In general, rainfall amounts required for non-drought conditions decrease from the coastal parts toward the interiors with increasing time steps. © Springer 2005.