Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (6): 750-767.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1297-9

• Review Article • Previous Articles    

Agricultural drought monitoring:Progress, challenges, and prospects

Xianfeng LIU1,2(), Xiufang ZHU1,2,*, Yaozhong PAN1,2(), Shuangshuang LI1,3, Yanxu LIU4, Yuqi MA2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. College of Resources Science & Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3. Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    4. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2015-11-10 Accepted:2015-12-15 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-06-15
  • Contact: Xiufang ZHU;
  • About author:

    Author: Liu Xianfeng (1986-), PhD Candidate, specialized in resource and environmental remote sensing and disaster remote sensing. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Major Project of High-resolution Earth Observation System


In this paper, we compared the concept of agricultural drought and its relationship with other types of droughts and reviewed the progress of research on agricultural drought monitoring indices on the basis of station data and remote sensing. Applicability and limitations of different drought monitoring indices were also compared. Meanwhile, development history and the latest progress in agricultural drought monitoring were evaluated through statistics and document comparison, suggesting a transformation in agricultural drought monitoring from traditional single meteorological monitoring indices to meteorology and remote sensing-integrated monitoring indices. Finally, an analysis of current challenges in agricultural drought monitoring revealed future research prospects for agricultural drought monitoring, such as investigating the mechanism underlying agricultural drought, identifying factors that influence agricultural drought, developing multi-spatiotemporal scales models for agricultural drought monitoring, coupling qualitative and quantitative agricultural drought evaluation models, and improving the application levels of remote sensing data in agricultural drought monitoring.

Key words: agricultural drought, drought monitoring, research progress, research prospect