A Counting Process Approach for Trend Assessment of Drought Condition

Di Giuseppe, E.; Pasqui, M.; Magno, R.; Quaresima
Published in: Hydrology
Date: September 27, 2019

This paper discusses some methodological aspects of the historical analysis of drought, particularly the trend assessment. The Standardized Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) is widely used as a measure of drought condition. Since different SPEI thresholds allow classifying the risk into moderate, severe, and extreme, the drought occurrence becomes a counting process. In this framework, would a statistical trend test based on a Non-Homogeneous Poisson Process (NHPP) give a similar result of the nonparametric Mann–Kendall (MK) test? In this paper, we demonstrate that the NHPP approach is able to characterize the information given by the classical MK approach in term of drought risk classes. Furthermore, we show how it can be used to reinforce the framework of drought trend analysis in combination with a standard non-parametric approach. At a global scale, we find that:(1) areas under increasing risk of drought identified by the NHPP approach are considerably larger in comparison to those identified by MK; and (2) the results of the two tests are different during crucial periods such as hydrological droughts in winter and spring