Prediction of Land Cover Compliance to the Drought Frequency under Climate Change Conditions in Hemrin Watershed
Keywords:Land Cover, Drought frequency, Climate Change, Hemrin
Climate change plays a crucial role in the frequency of extreme climate events, which greatly impacts the status of land cover (LC). In this paper, the compliance of LC to the drought frequency patterns (DFPs) was assessed for the present and future conditions in Hemrin Watershed, Iraq. The Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) data were used in the analysis of monthly weather data and the Reconnaissance Drought Index (RDI) of Hemrin Watershed for the period 1984-2013. In addition, a satellite-based analysis of the vegetation cover (VC) was conducted. Consequently, the satellite-based VC and DFPs were compared to investigate the effect of DFPs on VC and the trend of VC. The results indicated that drought was dominant in the last decades with two or three dry years followed by one wet year. Furthermore, the VC decreased by 0.5% and 4.5% during the dry and wet seasons respectively. The VC can be recovered when consecutive dry years are followed by two or more consecutive wet years and the drought frequency is reduced by 23% and 28% during dry and wet seasons respectively. However, when the wet years are dominant and successive, VC increases by 1% and 37% during dry and wet seasons respectively. The watershed is sensitive to climate change and the VC is highly related to the drought frequency. The dry area is expected to increase to cover most of the watershed by 2049 due to climate change consequents. The seasonal drought needs more investigation in future studies.
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