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Drought Characteristics of Bangladesh

Drought Characteristics of Bangladesh

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Published by nchakori
Characteristics of Droughts in Bangladesh
Characteristics of Droughts in Bangladesh

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Published by: nchakori on Sep 05, 2010
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HYDROLOGICAL PROCESSES
 Hydrol. Process.
22
, 2235–2247 (2008)Published online 19 November 2007 in Wiley InterScience(www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6820
Spatial and temporal characteristics of droughts in thewestern part of Bangladesh
Shamsuddin Shahid*
 Department of Geography, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
Abstract:
Spatial and temporal characteristics of droughts in the western part of Bangladesh have been analysed. Standardizedprecipitation index method is used to compute the severity of droughts from the rainfall data recorded in 12 rainfall gaugestations for the period of 1961–1999. An artificial neural network is used to estimate missing rainfall data. GeographicInformation System (GIS) is used to map the spatial extent of droughts of different severities in multiple time scales. Criticalanalysis of rainfall is also carried to find the minimum monsoon and dry months rainfall require in different parts of the studyarea to avoid rainfall deficit. The study shows that the north and north-western parts of Bangladesh are most vulnerable todroughts. A significant negative relationship between multiple ENSO index and rainfall is observed in some stations. Analysisof seasonal rainfall distribution, rainfall reliability and long-term rainfall trend is also conducted to aid prediction of futuredroughts in the area. Copyright
2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
KEY WORDS
droughts; rainfall; standardized precipitation index; GIS; Bangladesh
 Received 14 June 2006; Accepted 1 May 2007 
INTRODUCTIONDroughts are recurrent phenomena in the western part of Bangladesh. Since independence in 1971, the country hassuffered from nine droughts of major magnitude (Paul,1998). The impact of droughts was higher in the west-ern part of the country compared to other parts. In recentdecades, the hydro-climatic environment of north-westernBangladesh has been aggravated by environmental degra-dation and cross- country anthropogenic interventions(Banglapedia, 2003). Scientists have become increasinglyconcerned about the frequent occurrence of drought inwestern districts of Bangladesh, and this paper reportson studies of drought conditions in the western part of Bangladesh.Although droughts may occur at any time of the year,the impact of droughts during the pre-monsoon period ismore severe in Bangladesh. High yield variety Boro rice,which is cultivated in 88% of the potentially availableareas of the country, grows during this time. A deficitof rainfall during this period causes huge damage toagriculture and to the economy of the country. As forexample, drought in 1995 led to a decrease in riceand wheat production of 3
Ð
5
ð
10
6
ton in the country(Rahman and Biswas, 1995). This necessitated the importof huge amount of food grains to offset the shortagein national stocks and meet the national demand on anemergency basis (Paul, 1998). In this paper, pre-monsoondrought as well as droughts due to a deficit of monsoonrainfall have been studied.
*Correspondence to: Shamsuddin Shahid, Department of Geography,Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa.E-mail: sshahid ait@yahoo.com
Drought is a dynamic phenomenon, which changesover time and space. Therefore, complete analysis of drought requires study of its spatial and temporal extents.Hydrological investigation over a large area requiresassimilation of information from many sites, each with aunique geographic location (Shahid
et al
., 2000). Geo-graphic Information System (GIS) maintains the spatiallocation of sampling points, and provides tools to relatethe sampling data through a relational database. There-fore, it can be used effectively for the analysis of spatiallydistributed hydro-meteorological data and modelling. Inthe present paper, GIS is used for the spatial modellingof droughts in western Bangladesh at various time-scales.The common indicators of drought include meteoro-logical variables such as precipitation and evaporation,as well as hydrological variables such as stream flow,groundwater levels, reservoir and lake levels, snow pack,soil moisture, etc. Based on these indicators, numer-ous indices have been developed to identify the sever-ity of drought conditions (Dracup
et al
., 1980; Wilhiteand Glantz, 1985, 1987). However, most meteorolog-ical drought indices are based on precipitation data,e.g. Percentage of Normal Index (Banerji and Chabra,1964), Precipitation Deciles Index (Gibbs and Maher,1967), Bhalme–Mooley Drought Index (Bhalme andMooley, 1980), Standardized Precipitation Index (McKee
et al
., 1993), Effective Drought Index (Byun and Wilhite,1999), etc. Among these methods, the Standardized Pre-cipitation Index (SPI) quantifies the precipitation deficitfor multiple time steps, and therefore facilitates the tem-poral analysis of droughts. It has been found that SPIis better able to show how drought in one region com-pares to drought in another region (Guttman, 1998). It
Copyright
2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
 
2236
S. SHAHID
has also been reported that SPI provides a better spa-tial standardization than the other indices (Lloyd-Hughesand Saunders, 2002). Therefore, SPI is used to studythe spatial and temporal characteristics of meteorologicaldrought in western Bangladesh. Critical rainfall analysis,seasonal rainfall distribution, rainfall reliability and long-term rainfall trend are also studied to aid prediction of droughts in the area.HYDRO-CLIMATE OF BANGLADESHGeographically, Bangladesh extends from 20
°
34
0
N to26
°
38
0
N latitude and from 88
°
01
0
E to 92
°
41
0
E longi-tude. Climatically, the country belongs to the sub-tropicalregion where monsoon weather prevails throughout theyear in most parts of the country. The average tempera-ture of the country ranges from 17
°
C to 20
Ð
6
°
C duringwinter and 26
Ð
9
°
C to 31
Ð
1
°
C during summer. The aver-age relative humidity for the whole year ranges from70
Ð
5% to 78
Ð
1%, with a maximum in September and aminimum in March. Three distinct seasons can be rec-ognized in Bangladesh from the climatic point of view:(i) the dry winter season from December to February;(ii) the pre-monsoon hot summer season from March toMay; and (iii) the rainy monsoon season, which lastsfrom June to October (Rashid, 1991).The spatial distribution of rainfall over the country isshown in Figure 1a. The map has been prepared fromrainfall data for the 30 years 1970–1999, available at50 meteorological stations situated in and around thecountry. The average annual rainfall of the country variesfrom 1329 mm in the north-west to 4338 mm in thenorth-east (Shahid
et al
., 2005). The map shows that thewestern part of Bangladesh receives much lower rainfallthan other parts of the country. The monthly distributionof rainfall over the western part of the country is shownon the graph in Figure 1b. The monthly distribution iscalculated from rainfall data for the 39 years 1961–1999available at 12 stations in the study area. The rightvertical axis of the graph represents rainfall in millimetresand the left vertical axis represents the rainfall as apercentage of annual total rainfall. The graph shows thatrainfall is very much seasonal in the area, almost 77%of rainfall occurring during the monsoon. In summer, thehottest days experience temperatures of 45
°
C or evenhotter. In the winter the temperature falls to 5
°
C in someplaces (Banglapedia, 2003). Thus, the region experiencestwo extremities that clearly contrast with the climaticconditions of the rest of the country.A dryness study of Bangladesh, carried out using theDe Martonne aridity index (Figure 2a) and the Thornth-waite precipitation effectiveness index (Figure 2b) meth-ods (Essenwanger, 2001) from climatic data for the30 years 1970–1999 available at 50 meteorological sta-tions situated in and around Bangladesh, shows that west-ern side of Bangladesh can be classified ‘sub-humid’,the central part ‘humid’ and a small part of the north-eastern side ‘wet’. The lowest index values obtainedby De Martonne and Thornthwaite methods are 20
Ð
89and 64
Ð
04, respectively, in the central-western and north-western parts of Bangladesh. As the dryness index valuesin the region are close to those of a dry zone, the climateof these regions of Bangladesh can be considered veryclose to ‘dry’. The total annual evapotranspiration in thispart of Bangladesh is also lower than or equal to theannual rainfall in some years. The location map of thestudy area is shown in Figure 3.DATA AND METHODSRainfall data for the 39 years 1961–1999 from 12meteorological stations in the western part of Bangladeshwas used to study the characteristics of meteorologicaldrought. The main problem encountered during the studyof droughts is missing rainfall data. The methods used toestimate the missing rainfall data and to study droughtcharacteristics are discussed below.
 Estimation of missing rainfall data
Numerous methods for estimating missing data havebeen described in the literature (Creutin and Obled, 1982;Seo
et al
., 1990; Kuligowshi and Barros, 1998; Schnei-der, 2001; Teegavarapu and Chandramouli, 2005). In thepresent study, a feedforward artificial neural network (ANN) approach similar to that proposed by Teegavarapuand Chandramouli (2005) is used for the estimation of missing rainfall data. ANNs are computer models thatmimic the structure and functioning of the human brain,and are known for their ability to generalize well on awide variety of problems and are well suited to predic-tion applications (Bishop, 1995). Unlike many statisticalmethods, ANN models do not make dependency assump-tions among input variables and can solve multivariateproblems with nonlinear relationships among input vari-ables. The efficiency of ANN models does not dependon the density of measuring stations, rather on the num-ber of stations used for the estimation of missing data(Teegavarapu and Chandramouli, 2005). As the densityof rain gauges in the study area is low and ANNs aresupposed to be suited to any distribution of rainfall sta-tions, the method is used in this paper for the estimationof missing rainfall data.The missing rainfall data is random in most stations,however, continuous missing data for several years isalso evident at some stations. The percentage of missingrainfall data varies between 6% and 22% from stationto station, except one station (Khepupara), where about39% of the data is missing. The average level of missingrainfall data in the study area is 14%. Although the per-formance of ANNs improves with increasing percentageof training data, studies have shown that training with60% of the total data can reliably estimate unknown data(Teegavarapu and Chandramouli, 2005). Therefore, it canbe assumed that the ANN model estimated missing datain the present study with acceptable accuracy.
Copyright
2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Hydrol. Process.
22
, 2235–2247 (2008)DOI: 10.1002/hyp
 
DROUGHTS OF BANGLADESH
2237
Figure 1. (a) Spatial distribution of annual mean rainfall over Bangladesh; (b) monthly distribution of rainfall in the western part of Bangladesh
The topology of the ANN used for the estimation of missing rainfall data is 6:4:1, as shown in Figure 4. Thetopology was selected using a trial and error procedure.The input neurons use values from six neighbouringstations around the station of interest and the outputneuron of the ANN provides the missing value at thestation of interest. Neural network training is doneusing a supervised back-propagation training algorithm(Rumelhart and Mclelland, 1986; Haykin, 1994). Thechoice of learning rate, momentum factor and activationfunction for the ANN determines the rate and reliabilityof the training of the network. In the present case, alearning rate of 0
Ð
1 and momentum factor of 0
Ð
4 wasused. These factors were obtained by a trial and errormethod (Haykin, 1994). A gradient descent techniquewas used to adopt weights in the ANN structure tominimize the mean squared difference between the ANNoutput and the desired output. In the hidden and outputlayers, a sigmoidal activation function was used to modelthe transformation of values across the layers. Aftercomputing the missing rainfall data, a geospatial databaseof rainfall time series is developed within a GIS byfollowing the concept proposed by Goodall
et al
. (2004).
Calculation of standardized precipitation index
The standardized precipitation index (SPI, Mckee
et al
., 1993) is a widely used drought index based on theprobability of precipitation for multiple time scales, e.g.1-, 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, 18- and 24-month. It provides a com-parison of the precipitation over a specific period with theprecipitation totals from the same period for all the yearsincluded in the historical record. For example, a 3-monthSPI at the end of May compares the March-April-Mayprecipitation total in that particular year with the March
Copyright
2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Hydrol. Process.
22
, 2235–2247 (2008)DOI: 10.1002/hyp

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