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Vegetation, water and thermal stress index for study of drought in Nepal and central northeastern India

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Drought is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions caused primarily by human activity and climatic variations. The present study is the first attempt to identify and monitor drought using a vegetation index, a vegetation-water index and land surface temperature (LST) data for Nepal and central northeastern India. We propose a Vegetation Water Temperature Condition Index (VWTCI) for monitoring drought on a regional scale. The VWTCI includes the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), which measures the water status in vegetation, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and LST data. To validate the approach, the VWTCI was compared with the Vegetation Temperature Condition Index (VTCI) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 3B31 Precipitation Radar (PR) data. The study revealed a gradual increase in the extent of drought in the central part of the study area from 2000 to 2004. Certain constant drought areas were also identified and the results indicate that these areas are spreading slowly towards the northeast into the central part of the study area. Comparison of the drought areas also shows a decrease in rainfall in June and July from 2000 to 2004.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Japan

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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