Drought is understood as both a lack of water (i.e., a deficit as compared to some requirement) and an anomaly in the condition of one or more components of the hydrological cycle. Most drought indices, however, only consider the anomaly aspect, i.e., how unusual the condition is. In this paper, we present two drought hazard indices that reflect both the deficit and anomaly aspects. The soil moisture deficit anomaly index, SMDAI, is based on the drought severity index, DSI, but is computed in a more straightforward way that does not require the definition of a mapping function. We propose a new indicator of drought hazard for water supply from rivers, the streamflow deficit anomaly index, QDAI, which takes into account the surface water demand of humans and freshwater biota. Both indices are computed and analyzed at the global scale, with a spatial resolution of roughly 50 km, for the period 1981–2010, using monthly time series of variables computed by the global water resources and the model WaterGAP2.2d. We found that the SMDAI and QDAI values are broadly similar to values of purely anomaly-based indices. However, the deficit anomaly indices provide more differentiated, spatial and temporal patterns that help to distinguish the degree of the actual drought hazard to vegetation health or the water supply. QDAI can be made relevant for stakeholders with different perceptions about the importance of ecosystem protection, by adopting the approach for computing the amount of water that is required to remain in the river for the well-being of the river ecosystem. Both deficit anomaly indices are well suited for inclusion in local or global drought risk studies.
The project GlobeDrought aims to develop a stakeholder-supported web-based drought information system that provides spatial descriptions of drought risks with consideration of three components: (i) drought hazard, (ii) exposure, and (iii) vulnerability. The focus is on water supply for human and ecosystems, crop productivity and the need for international food aid. The approach is determine drought hazards by to combining satellite-based remote sensing of vegetation conditions, spatial‐temporal variations in terrestrial water storage changes (TWSC) from GRACE and analyses of precipitation data with hydrological modeling and crop modeling. The analysis of socioeconomic, governance-related and environmental data enables the quantification of exposure and vulnerability of social-ecological systems. The global-scale analysis will be supplemented by more detailed analyses for regions heavily affected by droughts such as Southern Africa, Eastern Brazil, Western India, and the Missouri River Basin of the United States. Results on quantification of hydrological drought hazards are presented. Various hydrological indicators are calculated at global as well as regional scale, based on the output of model WaterGAP 2.2d for the period of 2003-2016, forced with WFDEI-GPCC. The evaluated output includes streamflow, soil water content, groundwater storage, water storage in surface waters and total water storage are determined at a spatial resolution of 0.5°. Each of these five variables are utilised to calculate risk-specific drought hazard indicators using different methods. In addition, total water storage anomalies (TWSA) - based indicators are also calculated using GRACE gravity field data and then compared to WaterGAP results. In the further course of the project, the uncertainty of the WaterGAP time series is to be reduced by assimilation of GRACE TWSA.
Drought is a recurrent global phenomenon considered one of the most complex hazards with manifold impacts on communities, ecosystems, and economies. While many sectors are affected by drought, agriculture's high dependency on water makes it particularly susceptible to droughts, threatening the livelihoods of many, and hampering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Identifying pathways towards more drought resilient societies by analyzing the drivers and spatial patterns of drought risk is of increasing importance for the identification, prioritization and planning of risk reduction, risk transfer and adaptation options. While major progress has been made regarding the mapping, prediction and monitoring of drought events at different spatial scales (local to global), comprehensive drought risk assessments that consider the complex interaction of drought hazards, exposure and vulnerability factors are still the exception. Here, we present, for the first time, a global-scale drought risk assessment at national level for both irrigated and rain-fed agricultural systems. The analysis integrates (1) composite drought hazard indicators based on historical climate conditions (1980-2016), (2) exposure data represented by the harvest area of irrigated and rainfed systems, and (3) an expert-weighted set of social-ecological vulnerability indicators. The latter were identified through a systematic review of literature (n = 105 peer-reviewed articles) and expert consultations (n = 78 experts). This study attempted to characterize the average drought risk for the whole study period. Results show that drought risk of rain-fed and irrigated agricultural systems display different heterogeneous patterns at the global level with higher risk for southeastern Europe, as well as northern and southern Africa. The vulnerability to drought highlights the relevance to increase the countries’ coping capacity in order to reduce their overall drought risk. For instance, the United States, which despite being highly exposed to drought hazard, has low socio-ecological susceptibility and sufficiently high coping capacities to reduce the overall drought risk considerably. When comparing irrigated and rain-fed drought hazard/exposure, there are significant regional differences. For example, the northern part of Central Africa and South America have low hazard/exposure levels of irrigated crops, resulting in a low total risk, although high vulnerability characterize these regions. South Africa, however, has a high amount of rain-fed crops exposed to drought, but a lower vulnerability compared to other African countries. Further, the drivers of drought risk vary substantially across and within countries, calling for spatially targeted risk reduction and adaptation options. Findings from this study underline the relevance of analyzing drought risk from a holistic and integrated perspective that brings together data from different sources and allows for reproduction in varying regions and for different spatial scales, and can serve as a blueprint for future drought risk assessments for other affected sectors, such as water supply, tourism, or energy. By providing information on the underlying drivers and patterns of drought risk, this approach supports the identification of priority regions and provides entry points for targeted drought risk reduction and adaptation options to move towards resilient agricultural systems.
Droughts continue to affect ecosystems, communities and entire economies. Agriculture bears much of the impact, and in many countries it is the most heavily affected sector. Over the past decades, efforts have been made to assess drought risk at different spatial scales. Here, we present for the first time an integrated assessment of drought risk for both irrigated and rainfed agricultural systems at the global scale. Composite hazard indicators were calculated for irrigated and rainfed systems separately using different drought indices based on historical climate conditions (1980–2016). Exposure was analyzed for irrigated and non-irrigated crops. Vulnerability was assessed through a socioecological-system (SES) perspective, using socioecological susceptibility and lack of coping-capacity indicators that were weighted by drought experts from around the world. The analysis shows that drought risk of rainfed and irrigated agricultural systems displays a heterogeneous pattern at the global level, with higher risk for southeastern Europe as well as northern and southern Africa. By providing information on the drivers and spatial patterns of drought risk in all dimensions of hazard, exposure and vulnerability, the presented analysis can support the identification of tailored measures to reduce drought risk and increase the resilience of agricultural systems.
Droughts continue to affect ecosystems, communities, and entire economies. Agriculture bears much of the impact, and in many countries it is the most heavily affected sector. Over the past decades, efforts have been made to assess drought risk at different spatial scales. Here, we present for the first time an integrated assessment of drought risk for both irrigated and rain-fed agricultural systems at the global scale. Composite hazard indicators were calculated for irrigated and rain-fed systems separately using different drought indices based on historical climate conditions (1980–2016). Exposure was analyzed for irrigated and non-irrigated crops. Vulnerability was assessed through a social-ecological systems perspective, using social-ecological susceptibility and lack of coping capacity indicators that were weighted by drought experts from around the world. The analysis shows that drought risk of rain-fed and irrigated agricultural systems displays heterogeneous pattern at the global level with higher risk for southeastern Europe, as well as northern and southern Africa. By providing information on the drivers and spatial patterns of drought risk in all dimensions of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability, the presented analysis can support the identification of tailored measures to reduce drought risk and increase the resilience of agricultural systems.