Analysis of drought events in North Cyprus

Khan, Sana
Drought is a temporary climatic condition which arises due to lack of precipitation. It has become an important natural phenomenon for North Cyprus due to its semi-arid climate and with vulnerabilities culminating as a result of climate change there is a dire need to keep a good track of such extreme climate events for sustainable water resource management. The island is facing serious water shortages, and for Mediterranean region climate change impacts on water resources has become a pressing issue, hence, there is a need to understand these relationships which will aid in planning of hydroclimatic and agroclimatic designs. To achieve this objective, the study aims to analyze spatial-temporal characteristics of drought events for period 1978-2015 using monthly rainfall data from 33 stations across North Cyprus. In this study, number of commonly used drought indices such as Standard Precipitation Index (SPI), Z-Score Index (ZSI), Rainfall Departure from Mean (RD), China Z- Index (CZI), and Rainfall Deciles based Drought Index (RDDI) are calculated. The comparison of these indices at multiple time steps is achieved which showed CZI, SPI and ZSI are highly interchangeable and rain months (November, December, January, February and March) alone can best describe annual droughts for this region. SPI being the widely accepted drought index and giving similar results to other indices is selected to compute the drought characteristics indicating severity, magnitude, duration, intensity, and frequency of historical droughts in the region. Results showed that the region is mostly characterized by droughts of mild severity and short duration. Severity-Duration-Frequency (SDF) relationships are studied and isoseverity maps are developed for North Cyprus which indicated increasing drought severities with decreasing frequencies and also observed increasing severity trends towards north coast, north western peninsula and central Meseoria plain region of the country. In addition, teleconnections between drought indices and Ocean Atmosphere Circulations, such as El Nino Sothern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillations (NAO), Arctic Oscillations (AO), North Sea Caspian Pattern (NCP) and Western Mediterranean Oscillation (WeMO), is analyzed to evaluate and predict impact of large scale climate variabilities on the drought occurrence. The correlations based on lag times showed ENSO at lag of three years is linked to drought occurrence in North Cyprus. The results of this study are beneficial for decision makers for planning and design of hydrological structures and will ultimately help in the mitigation of such extreme events.


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Citation Formats
S. Khan, “Analysis of drought events in North Cyprus,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2019.