EDO Standardized Precipitation Index, 48-month accumulation period (SPI-48), blended and interpolated (version 1.2.0)

Collection: DROUGHT : Drought Observatories datasets 


The 48-month Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI-48) is a meteorological drought indicator to monitor precipitation anomalies over 48-month accumulation periods and is a proxy indicator for long-term impacts, for example, reduced reservoir and groundwater recharge. This indicator has a temporal resolution of 1 month and is derived from daily rainfall observations at SYNOP (Surface Synoptic Observations) stations from the MARS database ( interpolated at 0.25 decimal degrees, and blended with Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC - monthly total precipitation at 1 decimal degree. Interpolation at 0.25 decimal degree resolution and blending with GPCC data are according to Barnes iterative correction objective analysis (Koch, S. E., M. DesJardins, and P. J. Kocin, 1983: An interactive Barnes objective map analysis scheme for use with satellite and conventional data. J. Climate Appl. Meteor.,22, 1487–1503.). The SPI represents precipitation anomalies at a given location and time, as the deviation from the long-term mean in a standard normal distribution, with more negative values representing a more severe drought. SPI is calculated by comparing the observed total precipitation amounts for an accumulation period of a number of months, indicated by a number following SPI-48, with the long-term “climatological” rainfall distribution for that same period of the year, derived from historical rainfall records in a specific reference period. A given accumulation period corresponds to different potential impacts of a drought, with shorter accumulation periods generally representing fast-changing aspects of the water system such as surface soil moisture and flow in small rivers, and longer accumulation periods representing slower changing aspects of the water system such as groundwater and baseflow in larger rivers. However, the exact relationship between accumulation period and impacts depends on the natural environment (e.g. geology, soils) and human interference (e.g. irrigation). Details on the calculation of the SPI and blending and interpolation procedures are given in the indicator factsheet.


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  • EDO European Drought Observatory

How to cite

European Drought Observatory, EDO (2021): EDO Standardized Precipitation Index, 48-month accumulation period (SPI-48), blended and interpolated (version 1.2.0). European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


Precipitation SPI Precipitation Anomaly CEMS Copernicus Drought European Drought Observatory (EDO)

Data access

Data Download Service (GeoTIFF)
Data Download Service (NetCDF)
Web Map Service WMS
Data Download Service URL
Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) Factsheet
  • Factsheet


The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scale
McKee, T.B., N.J. Doesken and J. Kleist. 1993. The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scale. In: Proceedingsof the Eighth Conference on Applied Climatology, Anaheim, California, 17–22 January 1993. Boston, American Meteorological Society, 179–184

Geographic areas


Spatial coverage

Type Value
POLYGON((-41 76,76 76,76 25,-41 25,-41 76))

Temporal coverage

From date To date
1981-01-01 N/A

Additional information

Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Created date
Modified date
Issued date
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