Using Spatial Statistics to Identify Drought-Prone Regions (A Case Study of Khuzestan Province, Iran)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Civil Engineering, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Water Resources Research, Water Research Institute (WRI), Tehran, Iran



Iran is located on Earth’s arid zone and drought crisis imperils the country as a result of declining water resources. Khuzestan Province is in critical condition due to water shortage, and many of its groves have been destroyed so far. Due to the constant presence of dust, Khuzestan Province has plenty of respiratory and pulmonary patients. In the current situation, this dust causes acute problems for the patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Considering the importance of water deficit in this province, the present research has been done by calculating SPI and SPEI in a thirty-year statistical period from 1984 to 2014, by selecting 12 stations, during the months in which rainfall is more likely. In this study, we utilized a geostatistical method to prepare zoning maps of SPI and SPEI, and then various spatial statistics techniques in ArcGIS software were used to identify and locate the exact areas that are the sources of drought with the help of drought hot spots and strong drought clusters. Anselin Local Moran's maps indicate that the high-high precipitation clusters are located in the northeastern regions of Khuzestan. Drought hot and cold spots which were identified by Getis-Ord G* spatial statistics based on both SPI and SPEI show that the hot spots are formed in the southern and southwestern regions; while the cold spots are formed in the northwestern regions. Furthermore, drought hot spots have been identified with a 99% confidence level in places in which the total ten-year precipitation is less than 270 millimeters.


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