Time series MODIS and in situ data analysis for Mongolia drought

Munkhzul Dorjsuren, Yuei An Liou, Chi Han Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Drought is a period of abnormally dry weather with a serious shortage of water supply. Drought indices can be an advantageous indicator to assess drought for taking further response actions. However, drought indices based on ground meteorological measurements could not completely reveal the land use effects over a regional scale. On the other hand, the satellite-derived products provide consistent, spatial and temporal comparisons of global signatures for the regional-scale drought events. This research is to investigate the drought signatures over Mongolia by using satellite remote sensing imagery. The evapotranspiration (ET), potential evapotranspiration (PET) and two-band Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI2) were extracted from MODIS data. Based on the standardized ratio of ET to PET (ET/PET) and EVI2, the Modified Drought Severity Index (MDSI) anomaly during the growing season from May-August for the years 2000-2013 was acquired. Fourteen-year summer monthly data for air temperature, precipitation and soil moisture content of in situ measurements from sixteen meteorological stations for four various land use areas were analyzed. We also calculated the percentage deviation of climatological variables at the sixteen stations to compare to the MDSI anomaly. Both comparisons of satellite-derived and observed anomalies and variations were analyzed by using the existing common statistical methods. The results demonstrated that the air temperature anomaly (T anomaly) and the precipitation anomaly (P anomaly) were negatively (correlation coefficient r = -0.66) and positively (r = 0.81) correlated with the MDSI anomaly, respectively. The MDSI anomaly distributions revealed that the wettest area occupied 57% of the study area in 2003, while the driest (drought) area occurred over 54% of the total area in 2007. The results also showed very similar variations between the MDSI and T anomalies. The highest (wettest) MDSI anomaly indicated the lowest T anomaly, such as in the year 2003, while the lowest (driest) MDSI anomaly had the highest T anomaly in 2007. By comparing the MDSI anomaly and soil moisture content at a 10-cm depth during the study period, it is found that their correlation coefficient is 0.74.

Original languageEnglish
Article number509
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016


  • Evapotranspiration (ET)
  • MDSI anomaly
  • Mongolia
  • PET
  • Two-band Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI2)


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