Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Critical Dry Spells in Sri Lanka

By Samanthi Chathurika Mathugama and Sarath Peiris.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Daily rainfall data (1950–2005) from 11 rain gauge stations located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka are analyzed to obtain useful information on the lengths and the starting dates of four critical dry spells in each location. On average 12 dry spells per year is found in all locations. The mean duration of dry spells varied from 15 to 23 days with a mean of 19 days. Similar results are obtained during the period prior to 1960, after 1990 and 1961–1990. Further it revealed that agro ecological region DL1 is the longest dry spell region and Anamaduwa and Minneriya are the longest dry spell locations. The study found that there are no seasonal characters in dry spells. The variability of short dry spells (<20 days) is low and the rate of short dry spells is around eight per year. The long dry spells (≥20 days) showed high variability and its mean rate is four per year. Considering critical dry spells, longer dry spells tend to occur in the later part of the year in Anamaduwa and Anuradhapura while longer spells occurred during the first quarter in Hambantota. In other stations the longest spell occurred during the mid of the year. Lengths of first two critical dry spells are approximately equal except in Minneriya and Polonnaruwa. First critical dry spell started before 1st April in most of the stations while fourth spell occurred after 30th July. Fourth critical spell in certain years continued to the next year specially in DL1 region.

Keywords: Critical Dry Spells, Lengths, Starting Dates, Long Dry Spells, Short Dry Spells

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.71-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.773MB).

Samanthi Chathurika Mathugama

Lecturer, Division of Interdisciplinary Studies, Institute of Technology, University of Moratuwa, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The author is a Lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics attached to the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies, Institute of Technology University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. As an academic, the author’s main responsibilities are teaching and assessing students, research activities and student counseling. The author’s main research interests are in the fields of Applied Statistics, Time Series Analysis, Regression, Stochastic Process and Climate Change Studies.

Dr. Sarath Peiris

Senior Lecturer, Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dr. TSG Peiris is a Senior Lecturer in Statistics attached to Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. His research interests are Time Series, Regression Analysis, Statistical Data Analysis, Climate Change Analysis, Multivariate Statistics and Social Statistics. He has supervised 5 MPhil students and currently supervising 2 PhD students and one MPhil student. He has published 5 reports for the purpose of dissemination of knowledge, 30 research papers in Referred Indexed Journals, 9 conference papers in referred proceedings, 38 abstracts and 6 feature articles.

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