Drought Prevails Across Iran

Studies based on meteorological indices in the short- and long-term indicate overwhelming dry conditions across Iran
The zoning map has been prepared by Iran's Meteorological Organization.
The zoning map has been prepared by Iran's Meteorological Organization.

Recent statistics indicate that most parts of Iran are suffering from various degrees of short- and long-term drought based on meteorological indices.

Studies on meteorological drought over a one-year period ending Aug. 22, based on the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index, show that 88% of the country's area grappled with different levels of short-term drought.

According to Shahrokh Fateh, the head of Drought and Crisis Management Center at Iran's Meteorological Organization, 26% of Iran's area suffered abnormally dry conditions and 29% faced moderate drought during the period, ISNA reported.

"Severe and extreme drought conditions prevailed over 24% and 9% of the areas respectively," he said.

Only 10% had a normal status and the remaining 2% experienced precipitation.

Regions in the provinces of Khuzestan, Ilam, Bushehr, Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad, Isfahan, Yazd, East and West Azarbaijan, Kerman and Sistan-Baluchestan were facing severe or very severe drought over the short run, as per the index.

For the longer period of 84 months (seven years) leading to Aug. 22, SPEI indicates worsening conditions, with 94% of the country affected by different levels of long-term drought.

Fateh noted that the data indicate an overwhelming presence of accumulated drought across the country, while only 0.7% experienced precipitation and the rest had a normal status.

Severe and extreme conditions prevailed across 30% and 12% of areas respectively. Nearly half of the country, including the provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, Fars, Khuzestan and Bushehr, was affected by severe and extreme long-term drought in seven years.

Some 11% of regions were abnormally dry and 41% experienced moderate drought.

Meteorological drought happens when dry weather patterns dominate an area.

SPEI takes into account both precipitation and potential evapotranspiration in determining drought.

According to Fateh, autumn precipitation is expected to be sparse and arrive late this year in a majority of areas that contribute to drier conditions.

For countries like Iran that struggle with water scarcity, monitoring water resources constantly is of utmost importance.

"Long-term meteorological drought indices are useful means of assessing the general states of the country's water resources," he said.

Iran has been battling drought for over 15 years, thanks to declining rainfall, rising temperatures, inefficient farming practices, excessive consumption in metropolises and poor management of resources.

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