SPI Modes of Drought Spatial and Temporal Variability in Portugal: Comparing Observations, PT02 and GPCC Gridded Datasets.

Raziei, T., Martins, D.S., Bordi, I., Santos, J.F., Portela, M.M., Pereira, L.S., Sutera, A.
Water Resources Management, 1-18. DOI 10.1007/s11269-014-0690-3

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Regional drought modes in Portugal are identified applying the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Varimax rotation to the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) computed on various time scales using the three precipitation datasets covering the period 19502003: (i) The observation dataset composed of 193 rain-gauges distributed almost uniformly over the country, (ii) the PT02 high-resolution gridded dataset provided by the Portuguese Meteorological Institute, and (iii) the GPCC dataset with 0.5 spatial resolution. Results suggest that the three datasets well agree in identifying the principal drought modes, i.e. two sub-regions in northern and southern Portugal with independent climate variability. The two sub-regions appear stable when the SPI time scale is varied from 3- to 24-month, and the associated rotated principal component scores (RPCs) do not show any statistically significant linear trend. The degree of similarity between the rotated loadings or REOFs of different SPI time scales for the three used datasets was examined through the congruence coefficients, whose results show a good agreement between the three datasets in capturing the main Portuguese sub-regions. A third spatial mode in central-eastern Portugal was identified for SPI-24 in PT02, with the associated RPC characterized by a statistically significant downward trend. The stability of the identified sub-regions as a function of studied time period was also evaluated applying the same methodologies to a set of three different time windows and it was found that the southern sub-region is very stable but the northern and central-eastern sub-regions are very sensitive to the selected time window.