Javed, T; Yao, N; Chen, XG; Suon, S; Li, Y (2020). Drought evolution indicated by meteorological and remote-sensing drought indices under different land cover types in China. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, 27(4), 4258-4274.

Remote sensing freely provides many processed image products such as moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS), and long-termdata record (LTDR), for the investigation of drought evolution. Our objectives are to investigate drought evolution and spatiotemporal variations from 1982 to 2017 based on two remote-sensing indices, namely, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the vegetation condition index (VCI), and a popular meteorological index-standardized precipitation index (SPI)-under four different land cover types, cropland, forestland, grassland, and desertland in China. The modified Mann-Kendall test was used to detect the significance of a trend. The Pearson correlation method was used to find the relationship between NDVI anomaly, VCI, precipitation, and SPI. The results revealed that (a) both mean monthly and yearly precipitation had a general land cover type rank of forestland > grassland approximate to cropland > desertland. (b) A positive correlation was found between drought indices (NDVI anomaly, VCI, SPI) and precipitation for different land cover types. The NDVI anomaly and VCI were well correlated with 3-month SPI for cropland and were well correlated with 6-month SPI for forestland. VCI performed better thanNDVI anomaly when correlating with SPI. (c) The coefficient of determination (R-2) was obtained for precipitation and VCI in the driest (2011) and wettest (2016) years. The R-2 values for desert and grassland ranged from 0.70 to 0.90 and for cropland and forestland were lower (0.54-0.69). (d) Only precipitation, SPI, and VCI of cropland had significant increasing trends. The spatial distribution patterns of precipitation, NDVI, and VCI increased with the decreased elevation. The study revealed that desert and grassland had been regularly exposed to moderate or extreme droughts conditions and confirmed that desert and grassland are more sensitive to short-term drought.