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A re-examination of perpendicular drought indices

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In this letter, the performance of newly developed drought indices, the perpendicular drought index (PDI) and modified perpendicular drought index (MPDI), are further explored for regional surface dryness monitoring to provide clear guidance on appropriate implementation of these indices over different eco-systems through in-depth analysis of their advantages and constraints. Spatio-temporal patterns of surface drought derived by MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)-based PDI and MPDI are compared against field-measured soil moisture (SM), rainfall, and regional hydrological conditions. Results indicate that there are significant negative correlations between the PDI, the MPDI, and mean 0-20 cm SM content and rainfall. The PDI and the MPDI provide similar results at the early stage of vegetation growth, but a greater agreement between the drought information extracted by the MPDI and field measurements is observed for vegetated surfaces where the PDI fails. Therefore, it is recommended that PDI be used for bare soil applications, since it does not require calculation of additional information such as the fraction of vegetation which may contain some uncertainties, but the MPDI should be used for vegetated regions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Environmental Sciences, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103 2: Institute of Remote Sensing and GIS, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PR China 3: Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Image, de l'Informatique et de la Teledetection, LSIIT (UMR7005), Illkirch, France,Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing 100101, PR China

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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