عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: Drought is a creeping natural phenomenon, which can occur in any region. Such phenomenon not only affects the region subjected to drought, but its adverse effects can also be extended to other adjacent regions. This phenomenon mainly starts with water deficiency (say less than long- term mean of variable under study such as rainfall, streamflow, groundwater level or soil moisture) and progress in time. This period can be ended by increasing the rainfall and reaching the mean level. Even after the ending of a drought period, its adverse effects can be continued for several months. Although, it is not possible (at least at this time) to prevent the occurrence of drought in a given region, it is not impossible to alleviate the drought consequences by scientific water management. Such a management should be employed before drought initiation as well as during it and continue on even after the end of the drought period. The frequency of the main drought characteristics is a major concern of this study. The Northwest of Iran recently encountered severe and prolonged droughts, such that a major portion of the Urmia Lake surface disappeared during the last drought in recent years. In order to study drought characteristics, we used the Reconnaissance Drought Index (RDI). This index is based on annual rainfall and potential reference crop evapotranspiration (abbreviated by PET here). This study employed the Monte Carlo simulation technique for synthetic data generation for analysis.
Materials and Methods: The information from the 17 synoptic weather stations located in the North-west of Iran was used for drought analysis. Data was gathered from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Meteorological Organization (IRIMO). In the first stage of research, the ratio of long term mean annual precipitation to evapotranspiration was calculated for each of the stations. For this purpose, the Penman-Montheis (FAO 56) method was selected for PET estimation. In the second stage, the 64 candidate statistical distributions were fitted for the mentioned RDI’s of each station. The best statistical distribution was selected among the 64 candidate distributions. The best fitted distribution was identified by the chi-square criterion. The parameters of the distribution were estimated by the Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) scheme. Then 500 synthetic time series (each of them have the same number of observed data) were generated employing the parent population parameters. The three main drought characteristics (namely duration, severity and magnitude) were obtained for each of the mentioned artificial time series. The maximum values for each of the mentioned drought characteristic were selected for each year. Then, a new time series having the 500 elements were obtained by collecting the chosen values for each station. Once again the best distribution was selected for each series. Drought characteristics for different return periods (2, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 200 years) were estimated for each station.
Results and Discussion: Preliminary results indicated that a negative trend existed in annual rainfall time series for almost all of the stations. On the other hand, the pattern of monthly PET histograms were more or less similar for all of the selected stations. The peak of the PET was mainly observed in the hottest month of year, whereas the lowest value of the monthly PET belonged to the coldest month of year. The results showed that the amount of annual rainfall time series decreases sharply, after the year 1991. However, PET values significantly increase for all of the selected stations. After calculation of RDI values, the histogram of annual RDI’s was plotted against the year. This is repeated for all of the selected stations. Figure. 6 shows the mentioned diagram for Tabriz station as an example. In the mentioned Figure, negative values of RDI (shown by red bars) indicated the drought years. A critical prolonged drought with a sixteen years duration period (neglecting the 2001 in which RDI value was a small positive value) was experienced in Tabriz. The maximum drought severity in Tabriz was estimated to be about -7 in RDI units. Urmia station experienced the longest drought period, starting from 1995 and ending in 2005. It can be concluded that although few sparse wet years were observed in some of the selected stations in the studied period, they cannot compensate the water deficiency accumulated during several consecutive years. The results showed that the lowest value of the ratio of drought severity in a 100 year return period to the corresponding value for 2 year return period was about 2.13 (belonged to the Tabriz station), whereas the highest value was 3.17 (belonged to the Tekab station). On the other hand, the lowest value for the ratio of drought duration in 100 year return period to its corresponding value for 2 year return period was 1.95 (experienced in the Makoo station). The highest mentioned ratio was 9.18 (observed in the Sardasht station). The lowest and highest value of the ratio of drought magnitude in 100 year return period to its corresponding value for 2 year return period were 1.17 and 2.74, respectively. The mentioned drought magnitude ratios were observed in the Urmia and the Khalkhal stations, respectively. The isoplethes of the three main drought characteristics (severity, magnitude, duration) for a 10 year return period was illustrated for the study area (Northwest of Iran).
Conclusion: In the present study RDI values were used to analyze drought characteristics of Northwest of Iran. The Penman-Montheis method was used to estimate PET (needed for RDI) values of the stations. The main three drought characteristics were calculated for each of the 500 synthetic time series. The results showed that nearly all of the areas under study experienced severe and prolonged droughts. It can be concluded that a sharp decrease in annual precipitation as well as the increase in PET (due to greenhouse effects of consuming fossil fuels as the main source of energy in the region) from 1995 to 2005 was observed in the study area. Scientific management of available water in the study area is extremely vital to alleviate the adverse consequences of drought. Several economic and social problems were anticipated in these arid and semi-arid regions of Iran.