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Pakistan is among the top ten countries adversely affected by climate change. More specifically, there is concern that climate change may cause longer and severer spells of droughts. To quantify the change in the characteristics of droughts in Pakistan over the years, we have evaluated spatio-temporal trends of droughts in Pakistan over the period 1902–2015 using Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). Additionally, the Spatial “K” luster Analysis using Tree Edge Removal (SKATER) method was employed to regionalize droughts into five contiguous zones. The run theory was then applied to each zone to identify drought events and characterize them in terms of duration, severity, intensity, and peak. Moreover, the Modified Mann–Kendall trend test was applied to identify statistically significant trends in SPEI and drought characteristics in each zone. It was found that the southern areas of Pakistan, encompassing Sindh and most of Baluchistan, have experienced a decrease in SPEI, indicating a drying trend. Central Pakistan has witnessed a wetting trend as demonstrated by an increase in SPEI over time, whereas no statistically significant trend was observed for the northern areas of Pakistan. On a zonal basis, the longest duration drought to occur in Pakistan lasted 22 months in zone 5 (Sindh) from 1968 to 1970. In addition, the droughts of 1920 and 2000 can be said to be the worst drought in the history of the region as it affected all the zones and lasted for more than 10-months in three zones.


This article was originally published in Applied Sciences, available at doi:10.3390/app9214588.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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