Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Ashok Mishra

Committee Member

Abdul Khan

Committee Member

Nigel Kaye


Droughts are the most ambiguous of all natural hazards and yet are often cited as the most destructive and are responsible for the most widespread damage across all sectors of society. The purpose of this study was to further understand the impact that drought has on various sectors of society, especially the economic sector, and how various regions across the United States are specifically impacted by droughts and drought effects. In order to quantify the impact that drought has on the economic sector, an analysis was performed internationally between each country’s GDP and various drought indices such as PDSI, SPI, and SPEI. In order to account for exponential growth in GDP, the correlation was performed on detrended GDP using logarithmic trend free pre-whitening (TFPW) and logarithmic quadratic methods. The combination of PDSI and Log. TFPW gave the most complete understanding of negative correlation between drought and a nation’s economy. In order to focus on drought impact in the United States, ARIMA modeling was used to establish a forecasting model for PDSI time series for various climatic regions around the country. The accuracy of these forecasting models was quantified through an approximate AIC method and compared to precipitation and temperature of each of the regions to determine the influence each drought component had on model accuracy. The regions with lower temperatures such as the Upper Midwest gave the more accurate drought forecasting models. The applicability of each of these climatic regions towards drought studies were tested by Severity Area Frequency curve analysis. While the Northwest region of America necessitated a need for two drought sub-regions, most of the climatic regions were affected by droughts homogenously.



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