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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 104 No. 2, p. 287-300
    Received: Sept 6, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): prem.woli@msstate.edu
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Agricultural Reference Index for Drought (ARID)

  1. Prem Woli *a,
  2. James W. Jonesb,
  3. Keith T. Ingramb and
  4. Clyde W. Fraisseb
  1. a Dep. of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Mississippi State Univ., 130 Creelman Street, Mississippi State, MS 39762
    b Dep. of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Univ. of Florida, Frazier Rogers Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-0570


Several drought indices are available to compute the degree of drought to which crops are exposed. They vary in complexity, generality, and the adequacy with which they represent processes in the soil, plant, and atmosphere. Agricultural Reference Index for Drought (ARID) was developed as a reference index to approximate the water stress factor that is used to affect growth and other physiological processes in crop simulation models. Using RMSE, Willmott d index, and modeling efficiency (ME) as performance measures, ARID was evaluated using soil water contents in the root zone measured daily in two grass fields in Florida. The ability of ARID was assessed through comparison with the water deficit index (WSPD) of the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) CERES-Maize model. Seven other drought indices were compared with WSPD to identify the most appropriate agricultural drought index. Values of each index were computed for full canopy cover periods of maize (Zea mays L.) crops for 16 locations in the U.S. Southeast. Using periodic values, the performance of each index was assessed in terms of its correlation (r) with and departure from WSPD. The ARID reasonably predicted soil water contents (RMSE = 0.01–0.019, d index = 0.92–0.94, ME = 0.66–0.73) and adequately approximated WSPD (r = 0.90, RMSE = 0.15). Among the indices compared, ARID mimicked WSPD the most closely (RMSE smaller by 1–83%, r larger by 1–630%) and captured weather fluctuation effects the most accurately. Results indicated that ARID may be used as a simple index for quantifying drought and its effects on crop yields.

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