Climate change impacts on vegetation and agricultural drought in the basin of Panjshir River in Afghanistan

Figure 1. Map presenting the study area including an elevation profile and the location of the meteorological stations.


Iman Rousta, Mohammad-arif Saberi, Sayed Abd-raouf Mahmood, Mohammad Mansourmoghaddam, Haraldur Olafsson, Jaromir Krzyszczak, Piotr Baranowski


The agricultural drought, severely affecting human life, occurs unpredictably at different times with different intensities. The conventional methods for assessing drought often relay on indices obtained using meteorological data, but due to the low spatial coverage, incompleteness and inaccuracy of these data, meteorological indices cannot be considered as a comprehensive method. Therefore, it is suggested that remote sensing constitute more versatile approach, as it allows to assess the drought using the adequate spatial and temporal coverage for the study area. In the study, performed for the Panjshir river basin in Afghanistan, the 2010-2019 period is used to evaluate vegetation rate using NDVI data from MODIS. To calculate agricultural drought indices (DSI, VCI and TCI), May and June were selected, as the peak vegetation time occurs for these months. On the base of the remote sensing indicators it was shown that during the study period the drought conditions were normal in the region, except for 2011, 2017, and 2018, which were the driest years, and for 2019, which was the wettest year. Agricultural drought indices were compared to SPI index calculated using winter and spring precipitation data recorded at the meteorological stations. It was observed that the remote sensing indices showed the highest correlation with data from Kabul meteorological station, which is located at the same altitude and climate as the dense vegetation zone. Furthermore, the comparison showed that the ground precipitation data is characterized by higher amplitudes than the remote sensing data. From the above it steams that the vegetation in the Panjshir basin is influenced by both seasonal rainfall and rivers that continuously flood the area