What is the likelihood that a drought will end?

Supervisor: Professor Jason P. Evans

Synopsis

For droughts to end we need a large event or series of events that wet the soil profile enough to alleviate the drought. Hence the larger the soil moisture deficit the larger the event that is needed. The return period for such an event can be calculated and hence the likelihood of such a drought ending event estimated. Note that there is some trade-off between total precipitation in an event and the duration of the event – the rainfall must be more than what is lost to evaporation.

Aims

The project aims to quantify the probability of drought ending rainfall given a drought's intensity (soil moisture deficit) and the past record of rainfall.

Student Benefits

The student will learn how to:

  • Manipulate large datasets (programming skills are required)
  • Understand the calculation of probabilities
  • Understand drought in relation to  regions history of rainfall