Online Drought Indicators and Indices

Streamflow Drought Index (SDI) 

Index name: Streamflow Drought Index (SDI).

Ease of use: Yellow.

Origins: Developed by Nalbantis and Tsakiris using the methodology and calculations of SPI as the basis for their work.

Characteristics: Uses monthly streamflow values and the methods of normalization associated with SPI for developing a drought index based upon streamflow data. With an output similar to that of SPI, both wet and dry periods can be investigated, as well as the severity of these occurrences.

Input parameters: Monthly streamflow values and a historical time series for the streamflow gauge.

Applications: Used to monitor and identify drought events with reference to a particular gauge, which may or may not represent larger basins.

Strengths: The program is widely available and easy to use. Missing data are allowed, and the longer the streamflow record, the more accurate the results. As with SPI, various timescales can be examined.

Weaknesses: A single input (streamflow) does not take into account management decisions and periods of no flow can skew the results.

Resources: It is described in the literature with mathematical examples provided. Calculations can be developed starting from the SPI code (available on the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) website). Additional information on SDI can be found on DrinC.

References: Nalbantis, I. and G. Tsakiris, 2009: Assessment of hydrological drought revisited. Water Resources Management, 23(5): 881–897. DOI 10.1007/s11269-008-9305-1. (For more information on this paper, please contact the IDMP HelpDesk).

  1. Diress yigezu Tenagashaw
    February 4, 2021 Reply

    I need DrinC tools to calculated drought frequency.
    if is it possible please send me.

  2. Irfan
    February 16, 2020 Reply

    Please can you share with me the Matlab code calculating SDI. I need to replicate on my area

    1. Katrin Ehlert
      February 20, 2020 Reply

      Dear Irfan

      The SDI calculation follows basically that of the SPI. There are online tools available for SPI calculation (including source code) for example here: R code can be found for example here:

      Best regards
      IDMP team

  3. Abdullahi Danmagaji
    May 6, 2017 Reply

    good work

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