Drought distribution using the standardized precipitation index: case of Gabes Basin, South Tunisia

  • Sabrine JemaiEmail author
  • Amjad Kallel
  • Habib Abida
EMCEI 2017
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Water resources and water management for environmental integration in the Euro-Mediterranean region


The current research examines the temporal and spatial distribution of drought in Gabes Basin (South-Eastern Tunisia), observed over the last four decades. Monthly data of precipitation, registered in nine synoptic stations spread over the watershed for the period extending from 1977 to 2015, were used to determine the standardized precipitation index to characterize drought. The SPIs displayed results, as computed at 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 months, helped define the periods of rainfall excess and deficit, corresponding to wet and dry periods, respectively. The relevant results proved to highlight a significant variability in the SPI-associated values. On the short-term scale, the reached results proved to display a frequent fluctuation exceeding the standards, while the long-term scale relating results appeared to indicate that the dry and wet periods turned out to be rather pronounced. Furthermore, by the increasing of time scales, the extension of drought conditions will increase. On the medium and long terms, however, dry spells characterized with long periods become less frequent. Thus, the most remarkable periods in drought intensities, durations, and extensions were detected during the end of 1980 and the beginning of 2000 for different rainfall stations studied. The major drought sequence was detected to take place over the period extending from 2001 to 2005 relevant to the SPI-72 months, affecting the whole watershed. It was also found that drought occurrence in the region was mainly influenced by medium- and long-term climatic factors. Furthermore, the spatial map distribution of extreme drought events for the long term was developed displaying the variation of drought severity across the study basin.


Drought distribution Standardized precipitation index Gabes Basin Spatio-temporal variability 


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Sciences of SfaxSfaxTunisia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Water, Energy and Environment (3E), Sfax National School of Engineering, University of SfaxSfaxTunisia

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