Application and assessment of the standardized drought vulnerability index in the lower South Platte basin, Colorado, USA

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... Continuing, the six components are classified into four vulnerability categories (0-3 scale) according to their performance ( Table 2). The final vulnerability value per se is calculated by the average scaled value of the components following Equation (1) [22,29,86,97,98]. In this regard, the [29]; (b) Annual average mean temperature [29]. ...
... Continuing, the six components are classified into four vulnerability categories (0-3 scale) according to their performance ( Table 2). The final vulnerability value per se is calculated by the average scaled value of the components following Equation (1) [22,29,86,97,98]. In this regard, the SDVI adopts the mechanics of the Environmental Vulnerability Index that was developed by the South Pacific Geoscience Commission [90]. ...
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The degradation of natural resources at an intense rate creates serious problems in the environmental systems particularly with the compounding effects of climatic vagaries and changes. On the one hand, desertification is a crucial universal, mostly an anthropogenic environmental issue affecting soils all over the world. On the other hand, drought is a natural phenomenon in direct association with reduced rainfall in various spatial and temporal frames. Vulnerabilities to drought and desertification are complex processes caused by environmental, ecological, social, economic and anthropogenic factors. Particularly for the Mediterranean semi-arid conditions, where the physical and structural systems are more vulnerable, the abuse and overuse of the natural resources lead to their degradation and ultimately, if the current trends continue, to their marginalization. The scope of the current effort is trying to find any common drivers for the pressures of both processes. Thus, the vulnerabilities to drought and desertification are comparing by using the Standardized Drought Vulnerability Index (SDVI) and the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Index (ESAI). The indices are calculated from October 1983 to September 1996 in Greece. Greece is prone to desertification and it is often experiencing intense droughts, thus it presents an almost ideal case study area. The results may indicate that the most important factor for such procedures is the deficits in water resources, either due to lower than usually expected rainfall or to higher societal water demand.
Desertification constantly and diachronically manifested itself as one of the most critical environmental issues to be confronted and mitigated by society. This work presents the development of a land desertification risk Expert System (ES) for assessing the application of different land management practices by utilizing indicators through a desertification risk index (DRI). The DRI was developed by a desertification risk assessment framework generated in seventeen study sites worldwide. This assessment was performed through a methodological process incorporating indicators suited to a plethora of physical, social and economic characteristics. Then, the Desertification Risk Assessment Support Tool (DRAST) was created using the indicators' methodology in an effort to efficiently handle complexity and variability in soil and water resources management. To demonstrate DRAST's applicability, an independent data base of indicators was used, and the tool was employed in all the seventeen study sites. Five indicative sites, experiencing different desertification processes, are selected as key representatives of the methodological process implementation. Overall, the assessment depicted that DRAST performs appropriately in demarcating existing desertification risk as well as in portraying how the desertification risk changes after the application of pertinent mitigation actions. Thus, the current approach may lead towards a standardized procedure, which is using the advantages of information technology to assess the effectiveness of various land management practices and facilitate stakeholders and decision-makers to produce and implement timely and appropriate responses to combat desertification.
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Indices are used for representing complex phenomena; however, concerns usually arise regarding their objectivity and reliability, particularly dealing with their uncertainties during the development process. The current overarching objective is to reveal the significance of employing different weighting techniques in the application of the Standardized Drought Vulnerability Index (SDVI) and demarcate any pertinent implications that may emerge in drought decision making. Greece, as it is very often facing the catastrophic effects of droughts, presents an almost ideal case for the SDVI testing. SDVI outcomes were tested utilizing five weighting techniques deriving from four weighting methods. The analyses indicated that the use of complex weighting models may not be necessary in all cases and that the simple equal weighting method seems more effective to estimate drought vulnerability. It also seems more important to address the search for valid, reliable and relevant individual indicators forming the complex index as well as appropriate index development processes that would measure performance of water bodies, systems and schemes, monitor the process of equitable sharing, and provide mechanisms for monitoring the state and changes in interdependent water systems.
Drought is a complex natural hazard with its adverse multifaceted impacts cascading in every physical and human system. The vulnerability magnitude of various areas to drought mostly depends on their exposure to water deficiency, the existing water management policy framework and its implementation. The Standardized Drought Vulnerability Index (SDVI) is an integrated attempt towards characterizing drought vulnerability based on a comparative classification system, incorporating precipitation patterns, the supply and demand trends, and the socioeconomic background as the most crucial contributors to drought vulnerability. This work attempts to evolve the SDVI by presenting a more rigorous method of index parameters estimation and argues that the combination of in-situ and satellite data improve the index results in an effort to further minimize the paucity of drought related information. At the same time, it helps to surpass previous limitations in temporal and spatial propagation of the vulnerability concept. The new framework is applied in the South Platte Basin, within Colorado, on the 2012 summer drought (July-September). The proposed index modification may convey drought information in a more holistic manner to decision makers. SDVI could aid in advancing the understanding of each component contribution through in situ and remote sensing data integration and in avoiding existing practices of broken linkages and fragmentation of the reported impacts. Thus, it is believed that the SDVI could serve as an additional tool to guide decisions and target mitigation and adaptation actions, allowing for a more integrated management approach.
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