This study is intended to examine the past drought and predict future drought scenarios for Arkansas-Red River Basin with comprehensive drought indices ranging from meteorology, hydro-meteorology to hydrology. In this proceeding, we present some early results and analysis with the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). Historical climate data within the 1900-2009 timeframe were archived to derive the drought indices calculations. The projected A2, A1B climate data modules from 16 statistically downscaled Global Climate Models (GCM) were applied in drought occurrence frequency and affected area prediction. The results from the SPI and PDSI show that widespread drought took place in the 1910s, 1930s, 1950s and 1960s, which agrees with the historical climate record. Both the SPI and PDSI indicate more frequent droughts in the second part of the 21st century, but predictions from the two indices were carried out under different scenarios. The two indices describe future drought characteristics from a temporal and a spatial perspective. Future SPI values indicate that there might be a 110 year period of drought cycles occurring in the Arkansas-Red River Basin under A2, and future PDSI shows more severe droughts in the western portions of the basin under A1B.


Arkansas-Red River Basin, drought index, climate change, GCMs

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