Long-Term, Gridded Standardized Precipitation Index for Hawai‘i

Percent area drought time series (2000–2012) for the State of Hawai‘i for: (a) monthly aggregated U.S. Drought Monitor; and (b) gridded SPI-3 converted to USDM categories.

Click here to read the publication by Matthew Lucas.

Spatially explicit, wall-to-wall rainfall data provide foundational climatic information but alone are inadequate for characterizing meteorological, hydrological, agricultural, or ecological drought. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is one of the most widely used indicators of drought and defines localized conditions of both drought and excess rainfall based on period-specific (e.g., 1-month, 6-month, 12-month) accumulated precipitation relative to multi-year averages. A 93-year (1920–2012), high-resolution (250 m) gridded dataset of monthly rainfall available for the State of Hawai‘i was used to derive gridded, monthly SPI values for 1-, 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, 24-, 36-, 48-, and 60-month intervals. Gridded SPI data were validated against independent, station-based calculations of SPI provided by the National Weather Service. The gridded SPI product was also compared with the U.S. Drought Monitor during the overlapping period. This SPI product provides several advantages over currently available drought indices for Hawai‘i in that it has statewide coverage over a long historical period at high spatial resolution to capture fine-scale climatic gradients and monitor changes in local drought severity.

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