Online Drought Indicators and Indices

Reclamation Drought Index (RDI)

 

Index name: Reclamation Drought Index (RDI).

Ease of use: Red.

Origins: The United States Bureau of Reclamation developed this drought index in the mid-1990s as a method to trigger drought emergency relief funds associated with public lands.

Characteristics: Developed to define drought severity as well as duration and can also be used to predict the onset and end of drought periods. It has both wet and dry scales and is calculated at the river basin level, in a similar way to the Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI). RDI has water-demand and temperature components, which allow for the inclusion of evaporation into the index.

Input parameters: Monthly precipitation, snowpack, reservoir levels, streamflow and temperature.

Applications: Used mainly to monitor water supply for a river basins.

Strengths: Very specific to each basin. Unlike SWSI, it accounts for temperature effects on climate. Wet and dry scales allow for monitoring of wet and dry conditions.

Weaknesses: Calculations are made for individual basins, so comparisons are hard to make. Having all the inputs in an operational setting may cause delays in the production of data.

Resources: The characteristics and mathematics are provided in the reference below.

Reference: Weghorst, K., 1996: The Reclamation Drought Index: Guidelines and Practical Applications. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO, USA.

6 Comments
  1. Nasrin Salehnia
    February 1, 2017 Reply

    Hi
    I need to calculation RDI. Could you please send me the calculation of this index?
    Best Regards,
    Nasrin

    1. Robert Stefanski
      February 2, 2017 Reply

      Dear Nasrin,

      Thank you for your comment. I will email some colleagues in the US to get more information on this index. One of the weaknesses of this index is that calculations are made for individual basins, so comparisons are hard to make. Having all the inputs in an operational setting may cause delays in the production of data.

      Best regards,
      Bob Stefanski
      IDMP/WMO

  2. farideh
    June 17, 2017 Reply

    Dear Stefanski
    I need to calculation RDI, How can I get the index calculation method?
    could you send the calculation for me?
    Best regards,
    farideh

    1. Robert Stefanski
      July 13, 2017 Reply

      The RDI calculations can found in the following publication: Weghorst, K., 1996: The Reclamation Drought Index: Guidelines and Practical Applications. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO, USA.

  3. ali
    July 15, 2017 Reply

    Dear Robert Stefanski
    Could you Email all information that you have about RDI for me?
    Best regards,

    1. Robert Stefanski
      July 17, 2017 Reply

      Done. I will check to see if we can post this online. There might be copyright issues.

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