EGU24-3933, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Spatiotemporal characteristics of drought in the Yili River basin in Northwest China over the past 40 years

Mengzhen Huang1,2, Ruijie Lu1,2, Peiru Li1,2, and Yutong Han1,2
Mengzhen Huang et al.
  • 1Ministry of Education Engineering Center of Desertification and Blown-sand Control, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

The Yili River basin is commonly referred to as a "wet island" in the Central Asian Dry Zone. It functions as a vital security barrier in the western part of China. Droughts frequently occur in the basin due to global change and pose a significant threat to food security and ecological stability in the region. Currently, droughts in the basin have not received the attention they deserve, and the mechanisms behind the occurrence, development, and impacts of drought in the basin have not yet been clarified. Based on the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), this research identified drought events over the past 40 years, extracted drought characteristics and drought trends, and explored future drought. The following results were found: 1) The basin has experienced frequent wet and dry changes on monthly and seasonal scales, and entered a period of high drought since 2005, specifically the successive severe droughts of 2007-2009 and 2012-2015. 2) There were drought events approximately one-quarter of the time in the basin. Each drought event lasted an average of 2.23 months with a medium intensity. The most prominent droughts occurred in spring and summer. Droughts in the middle and southwest of the basin had short durations but higher intensities, which significantly impacted the area. 3) Over the last 40 years, there has been a general increase in aridity in the basin, especially in spring and summer. The aridity trend was more severe in the northwestern part. 4) In the future, annual drought is predicted to decrease but will increase in summer. It’s recommended that emergency management of drought disasters in the basin be strengthened and, in particular, to improve the monitoring, early warning and prevention in summer.

How to cite: Huang, M., Lu, R., Li, P., and Han, Y.: Spatiotemporal characteristics of drought in the Yili River basin in Northwest China over the past 40 years, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-3933,, 2024.