Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Identifying Drought Status in Duhok Governorate (Iraqi Kurdistan Region) from 1998 through 2012 using Landsat Time Series Dataset

Journal of Applied Science and Technology Trends


Drought is a natural hazard that has a significant impact on the various aspects (i.e., economic, agricultural, environmental, and social). This study was carried out to evaluate drought severity and frequency during the growing season (April month) in Duhok Governorate (DUG), the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), for the period from 1998 through 2012 based on Landsat-based spectral indices. In this study, 15 mosaics assembled for 15 years consist of two scenes of Landsat time series, in a total of 30 TM and ETM+ images (WRS2: 170/34 & 170/35) acquired in 1998 to 2012. Annual precipitation data were collected from 18 meteorological stations distributed in the (DUG) for the study period. Drought status was investigated using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Modified Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (MSAVI2), and Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI). The study results showed an increase in drought severity and frequency in the (DUG) during the fifty years, particularly in 2000 and 2008. Whereas, the NDVI-based vegetation cover area has been reduced by 21.5% and 50.2% in 2000 and 2008, respectively. Additionally, the lowest values of the MSAVI2 (0.012 and 0.266) occurred in 2000 and 2008. As a result, the percentage of the vegetation cover reduction was 14.0% and 23.9%, respectively. Moreover, drop-in precipitation averages have occurred in those two drought years 2000 and 2008, as well as a significant reduction in the vegetation cover. On the other side, the most significant shrinkage in Duhok Dam (DUD) was by 1.13, 1.44, and 1.36 km2 in 2007, 2008, and 2009. It can be concluded that there are increasing drought episodes in the last two decades, declining in the water body surface area, and decreasing the precipitation averages in DUG from 1998 through 2012.


Drought, Landsat, NDVI, MSAVI2, NDWI, Duhok



  1. D. A. Wilhite, “Drought as a Natural Hazard,” Drought A Glob. Assess., vol. 1, pp. 3–18, 2000.
  2. WMO, Integrated Drought Management Programme Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices. 2016.
  3. A. M. Fadhil, “Land Degradation Detection using Geo-Information Technology for Some Sites in Iraq,” J. Al-Nahrain Univ. Sci., vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 94–108, 2009, doi: 10.22401/jnus.12.3.13.
  4. H. A. A. Gaznayee, A. M. F. Al-Quraishi, and W. Wu, “Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Drought in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region using Landsat Time - Series Images based on VHI and VCI Indices of 1998 - 2017,” ICGITA2019 Conference, Nanchang, China. 2019.
  5. L. Eklund, “Migration Patterns in Duhok Governorate, Iraq, 2000-2010,” Open Geogr. J., vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 48–58, 2012, doi: 10.2174/1874923201205010048.
  6. Y. T. Mustafa, “Spatiotemporal Analysis of Vegetation Cover in Kurdistan Region-Iraq using MODIS Image Data,” JASTT, vol. 01, no. 01, pp. 1–6, 2020.
  7. H. A. A. Gaznayee and A. M. F. Al-Quraishi, “Analysis of Agricultural Drought’s Severity and Impacts in Erbil Province, the Iraqi Kurdistan Region based on Time Series NDVI and TCI Indices for 1998 through 2017,” Jour Adv Res. Dyn. Control Syst., vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 287–297, 2019, doi: 10.5373/JARDCS/V11I11/20193198.
  8. A. M. F. Al-Quraishi and A. M. Negm, Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS in Iraq, Springer-Water, Springer, Cham, ISBN: 978-3-030-21344-2, 2019.
  9. S. Zakaria, Y. T. Mustafa, D. A. Mohammed, S. S. Ali, N. Al-Ansari, and S. Knutsson, “Estimation of annual harvested runoff at Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” Nat. Sci., vol. 05, no. 12, pp. 1272–1283, 2013, doi: 10.4236/ns.2013.512155.
  10. R. Schnepf, “Iraq Agriculture and Food Supply: Background and Issues,” CRS Rep. Congr., p. 57, 2004.
  11. L. Eklund, A. Abdi, and M. Islar, “From Producers to Consumers: The Challenges and Opportunities of Agricultural Development in Iraqi Kurdistan,” Land, vol. 6, no. 3, p. 44, 2017, doi: 10.3390/land6020044.
  12. Y. S. Almamalachy, A. M. F. Al-Quraishi, H. Moradkhani. Agricultural Drought Monitoring Over Iraq Utilizing MODIS Products. In: Al-Quraishi, A. M. F. & Negm, A. M. (eds). Environmental Remote Sensing and GIS in Iraq. Springer-Water, Springer, Cham. 2019.
  13. UNESCO, “Integrated drought risk management– DRM executive,” Natl. Framew. IRAQ AN Anal. Rep. MARcH, vol. Second edi, no. March, 2014.
  14. P. Chopra, “Drought Risk Assessment Using Remote Sensing and GIS: A Case Study of Gujarat,” p. 67, 2006, doi: 10.2741/3594.
  15. H. A. A. Gaznayee and A. M. F. Al-Quraishi, “Analysis of Agricultural Drought, Rainfall, and Crop Yield Relationships in Erbil Province, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq based on Landsat Time-Series MSAVI2,” J. Adv. Res. Dyn. Control Syst., vol. 11, no. 12 Special Issue, pp. 536–545, 2019, doi: 10.5373/JARDCS/V11SP12/20193249.
  16. D. K. Menon and V. Bhavana, “An overview of Drought evaluation and monitoring using remote sensing and GIS,” Pdfs.Semanticscholar.Org, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 32–37, 2016.
  17. Y. T. Mustafa and D. R. Ismail, “Land Use Land Cover Change in Zakho District, Kurdistan Region, Iraq: Past, Current and Future,” 2019 Int. Conf. Adv. Sci. Eng. ICOASE 2019, pp. 141–146, 2019, doi: 10.1109/ICOASE.2019.8723758.
  18. J. A. Foley, S. Levis, M. H. Costa, and W. Cramer, “Incorporating Dynamic Vegetation Cover within Global Climate Models David Pollard Published by : Wiley on behalf of the Ecological Society of America Stable URL: Wiley , Eccharacter encodingological Society of America are collaborating,” vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 1620–1632, 2018.
  19. Y. T. Mustafa, “Mapping and Estimating Vegetation Coverage in Iraqi Kurdistan Region using Remote Sensing and GIS,” Gen. Dir. Hortic. For. Rangeland, Minist. Agric. Water Resour. Kurdistan Reg. Iraq-FINAL Rep. 2015, vol. FINAL REPO, pp. 1–136, 2015.
  20. H. A. A. Gaznayee, “Modeling Spatio-Temporal Pattern of Drought Severity Using Meteorological Data and Geoinformatics Techniques for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” Salahaddin University-Erbil-Iraq. Dissertation, pp. 1–11, 2020.
  21. H. Nouri, S. Beecham, S. Anderson, and P. Nagler, “High spatial resolution WorldView-2 imagery for mapping NDVI and its relationship to temporal urban landscape evapotranspiration factors,” Remote Sens., vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 580–602, 2013, doi: 10.3390/rs6010580.
  22. B. Nath and S. Acharjee, “Forest Cover Change Detection using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) A Study of Reingkhyongkine Lake ’ s Adjoining Areas ,” Indian Cartogr., vol. XXXIII, no. 2, pp. 348–403, 2013.
  23. D. do N. Aquino, O. C. da R. Neto, M. A. Moreira, A. dos S. Teixeira, and E. M. de Andrade, “Use of remote sensing to identify areas at risk of degradation in the semi-arid region,” Rev. Cienc. Agron., vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 420–429, 2018, doi: 10.5935/1806-6690.20180047.
  24. J. Qi, Y. Kerr, and A. Chehbouni, “External factor consideration in vegetation index development,” Proc. 6th Int. Symp. Phys. Meas. Signatures Remote Sensing, ISPRS, no. February, pp. 723–730, 1994, doi: 95N17071.
  25. J. Qi, Y. Kerr, and A. Chehbouni, “External factor consideration in vegetation index development,” Proc. Phys. Meas. Signatures Remote Sens., no. August 2015, pp. 723–730, 1994.
  26. B.-c. Gao, "NDWI—A normalized difference water index for remote sensing of vegetation liquid water from space," Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 58, pp. 257-266, 1996/12/01/ 1996.
  27. Y. T. Mustafa and M. J. Noori, “Satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to assess changes in the water level in the Duhok dam,” Int. J. Water Resour. Environ. Eng., vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 351–359, 2013, doi: 10.5897/IJWREE2012.0402.


Metrics Loading ...