Climate change raises concern that risks of hydrological drought may be increasing. We estimate hydrological drought probabilities for rivers and streams in the United States (U.S.) using maximum likelihood logistic regression (MLLR). Streamflow data from winter months are used to estimate the chance of hydrological drought during summer months. Daily streamflow data collected from 9,144 stream gages from January 1, 1884 through January 9, 2014 provide hydrological drought streamflow probabilities for July, August, and September as functions of streamflows during October, November, December, January, and February, estimating outcomes 5-11 months ahead of their occurrence. Few drought prediction methods exploit temporal links among streamflows. We find MLLR modeling of drought streamflow probabilities exploits the explanatory power of temporally linked water flows. MLLR models with strong correct classification rates were produced for streams throughout the U.S. One ad hoc test of correct prediction rates of September 2013 hydrological droughts exceeded 90% correct classification. Some of the best-performing models coincide with areas of high concern including the West, the Midwest, Texas, the Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic. Using hydrological drought MLLR probability estimates in a water management context can inform understanding of drought streamflow conditions, provide warning of future drought conditions, and aid water management decision making.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Modeling summer month hydrological drought probabilities in the United States using antecedent flow conditions|
|Series title||Journal of the American Water Resources Association|
|Contributing office(s)||Virginia Water Science Center|