Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (1): 53-67.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1714-y

• Special Issue: Global and Regional Land Surface Characteristics and Socio-economic Scenarios • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evaluation of Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite precipitation products for drought monitoring over the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River Basin, China

CHEN Shaodan, ZHANG Liping, ZHANG Yanjun*(), GUO Mengyao, LIU Xin   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2018-12-20 Accepted:2019-03-26 Online:2020-01-25 Published:2020-03-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Yanjun
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China, No(2017YFA0603704);National Natural Science Foundation of China, No(51339004)


Drought is one of the most frequent and widespread natural disasters and has tremendous agricultural, ecological, societal, and economic impacts. Among the many drought indices, the standardized precipitation index (SPI) based on monthly precipitation data is simple to calculate and has multiscale characteristics. To evaluate the applicability of high spatiotemporal resolution satellite precipitation products for drought monitoring, based on the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) products and station-based meteorological data, the SPI values at different time scales (1, 3, 6, and 12 months) were calculated for the period of 1998-2016 in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River Basin (MLRYRB). The temporal correlations show that there is a high degree of consistency between calculations at the different time scales (1, 3, 6 and 12 months) based on the two data sources and that the amplitude of fluctuations decreases with increasing time scale. In addition, the Mann-Kendall (MK) test method was applied to analyze the trends from 1998 to 2016, and the results suggest that wetting trends clearly prevailed over drying trends. Moreover, a correlation analysis of the two data sources based on 60 meteorological stations was performed with the SPI values at different time scales. The correlation coefficients at the short time scales (1, 3, and 6 months) are all greater than 0.7, and the correlation coefficient at the long time scale (12 months) is greater than 0.5. In summary, the results demonstrate that the TRMM 3B43 precipitation product provides a new data source that can be used for reliable drought monitoring in the MLRYRB.

Key words: drought, remote sensing, precipitation, TRMM 3B43, SPI