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Forecasting Drought Using the Agricultural Reference Index for Drought (ARID): A Case Study

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  • 1 Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi
  • | 2 University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • | 3 Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi
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Abstract

Drought forecasting can aid in developing mitigation strategies and minimizing economic losses. Drought may be forecast using a drought index, which is an indicator of drought. The agricultural reference index for drought (ARID) was used as a tool to investigate the possibility of using climate indices (CIs) as predictors to improve the current level of forecasting, which is El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) based. The performances of models that are based on linear regression (LR), artificial neural networks (ANN), adaptive neuron-fuzzy inference systems (ANFIS), and autoregressive moving averages (ARMA) models were compared with that of the ENSO approach. Monthly values of ARID spanning 56 yr were computed for five locations in the southeastern United States, and monthly values of the CIs having significant connections with weather in this region were obtained. For the ENSO approach, the ARID values were separated into three ENSO phases and averaged by phase. For the ARMA models, monthly time series of ARID were used. For the ANFIS, ANN, and LR models, ARID was predicted 1, 2, and 3 months ahead using the past values of the first principal component of the CIs. Model performances were assessed with the Nash–Sutcliffe index. Results indicated that drought forecasting could be improved for the southern part of the region using ANN models and CIs. The ANN outperformed the other models for most locations in the region. The CI-based models and the ENSO approach performed better during the winter, whereas the efficiency of ARMA models depended on precipitation periodicities. All models performed better for southern locations. The CIs showed good potential for use in forecasting drought, especially for southern locations in the winter.

Corresponding author address: Prem Woli, Mississippi State University, 130 Creelman St., Mississippi State, MS 39762-9632. E-mail: prem.woli@msstate.edu

Abstract

Drought forecasting can aid in developing mitigation strategies and minimizing economic losses. Drought may be forecast using a drought index, which is an indicator of drought. The agricultural reference index for drought (ARID) was used as a tool to investigate the possibility of using climate indices (CIs) as predictors to improve the current level of forecasting, which is El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) based. The performances of models that are based on linear regression (LR), artificial neural networks (ANN), adaptive neuron-fuzzy inference systems (ANFIS), and autoregressive moving averages (ARMA) models were compared with that of the ENSO approach. Monthly values of ARID spanning 56 yr were computed for five locations in the southeastern United States, and monthly values of the CIs having significant connections with weather in this region were obtained. For the ENSO approach, the ARID values were separated into three ENSO phases and averaged by phase. For the ARMA models, monthly time series of ARID were used. For the ANFIS, ANN, and LR models, ARID was predicted 1, 2, and 3 months ahead using the past values of the first principal component of the CIs. Model performances were assessed with the Nash–Sutcliffe index. Results indicated that drought forecasting could be improved for the southern part of the region using ANN models and CIs. The ANN outperformed the other models for most locations in the region. The CI-based models and the ENSO approach performed better during the winter, whereas the efficiency of ARMA models depended on precipitation periodicities. All models performed better for southern locations. The CIs showed good potential for use in forecasting drought, especially for southern locations in the winter.

Corresponding author address: Prem Woli, Mississippi State University, 130 Creelman St., Mississippi State, MS 39762-9632. E-mail: prem.woli@msstate.edu
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