Standardized Streamflow Index (SSI)
The Standardized Streamflow Index (SPI) is an index based on the probability of precipitation for any time scale.
The underlying assumption is that a deficit of precipitation has different impacts on groundwater, reservoir storage, soil moisture, snowpack, and streamflow.
The SPI was designed to quantify the precipitation deficit for multiple time scales.
These time scales reflect the impact of drought on the availability of the different water resources.
Soil moisture conditions respond to precipitation anomalies on a relatively short scale.
Groundwater, streamflow, and reservoir storage reflect the longer-term precipitation anomalies.
The SPI calculation for any location is based on the long-term precipitation record for a desired period.
This long-term record is fitted to a probability distribution, which is then transformed into a normal distribution so that the mean SPI for the location and desired period is zero (Edwards and McKee, 1997).
Positive SPI values indicate greater than median precipitation, and negative values indicate less than median precipitation. Because the SPI is normalized,
wetter and drier climates can be represented in the same way, and wet periods can also be monitored using the SPI.
A drought event occurs any time the SPI is continuously negative and reaches an intensity of -1.0 or less.
The event ends when the SPI becomes positive. Each drought event, therefore, has a duration defined by its beginning and end, and an intensity for each month that the event continues.
The positive sum of the SPI for all the months within a drought event can be termed the drought's "magnitude".