Assessing the Impact of Spatio-temporal Drought Regimes Using Timescale Standardized Precipitation Index in Malawi

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 9, Issue 4, 1080341
Isaac Chitedze1 , Sylvester R. Chikabvumbwa2
1 Department of Energy Systems, Mzuzu University, P/Bag 201, Luwinga, Mzuzu, Malawi
2 Department of Agricultural Engineering, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi


This study assessed the temporal and spatial drought regimes in Kasungu Agricultural Development Division from 1977 to 2017. The previous studies in Malawi only used the Percentile Index such that other indices including the timescale standardized precipitation index were not considered for drought analysis. This study bridged this gap by using 3-month and 6-month Standardized Precipitation Indices in Drought Monitoring and Prediction software. This study found that the rainfall patterns are highly variable with decreasing trends as determined by high coefficient of variation values (> 0.5). These variations have subjected the region to frequent mild and moderate meteorological droughts. Based on driest years, the respective maximum drought severities were 5,358 in 1994, 3,638 in 1999, 3,492 in 2005 and 3,112 in 2015. Results suggest that drought severity is highly correlated to the rainfall variations in the corresponding districts. This study recommends usage of timescale indices to aid drought monitoring.

Keywords: Kasungu, Standardized precipitation index, Disaster risk management, Sustainable water resources, Drought, Agricultural development division.

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