Cluster analysis of drought variation and its mutation characteristics in Xinjiang province, during 1961–2015

Pei Xie, Xiaohui Lei, Yuhu Zhang, Mingna Wang, Ihnsup Han, Qiuhua Chen

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9 Scopus citations


The Xinjiang province of China is vulnerable to drought, but the occurrence of drought varies substantially among different sub-areas. This study investigated drought characteristics in Xinjiang province and its sub-area using the Mann–Kendall trend test, cluster analysis and Morlet wavelet analysis. The results show that drought in Xinjiang is generally becoming less severe, and there is a non-uniform spatial variation of drought, which is especially pronounced for stations in northern Xinjiang. There is a unique spatiotemporal distribution trend of drought in Xinjiang, and the inter-decadal variation of drought shows a gradual shift from the east to the west and then back to the east again over the past 55 years. Northern Xinjiang is becoming wetter at a faster rate compared with that of southern Xinjiang, and it also has a higher occurrence of change point sites (70%). The historical drought situation in Xinjiang is better characterized by three clusters. Cluster 1 is the driest, cluster 2 has a clear alleviating tendency of drought, while cluster 3 shows late occurrence of change point. A broader view of the accumulated variation of drought is formulated in this study, which may help to identify potential droughts to support drought disaster management and mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1016-1027
Number of pages12
JournalHydrology Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Change point
  • Cluster analysis
  • Drought
  • Xinjiang


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