Linking drought indices to impacts to support drought risk assessment in Liaoning province, China

Wang, Yaxu; Lv, Juan; Hannaford, Jamie ORCID:; Wang, Yicheng; Sun, Hongquan; Barker, Lucy J. ORCID:; Ma, Miaomiao; Su, Zhicheng; Eastman, Michael. 2020 Linking drought indices to impacts to support drought risk assessment in Liaoning province, China [in special issue: Recent advances in drought and water scarcity monitoring, modelling, and forecasting (EGU2019, session HS4.1.1/NH1.31)] Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 20 (3). 889-906.

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Drought is a ubiquitous and recurring hazard that has wide-ranging impacts on society, agriculture and the environment. Drought indices are vital for characterising the nature and severity of drought hazards, and there have been extensive efforts to identify the most suitable drought indices for drought monitoring and risk assessment. However, to date, little effort has been made to explore which index (or indices) best represents drought impacts for various sectors in China. This is a critical knowledge gap, as impacts provide important ground truth information for indices used in monitoring activities. The aim of this study is to explore the link between drought indices and drought impacts, using Liaoning province (northeast China) as a case study due to its history of drought occurrence. To achieve this we use independent, but complementary, methods (correlation and random forest analysis) to identify which indices link best to drought impacts for prefectural-level cities in Liaoning province, using a comprehensive database of reported drought impacts in which impacts are classified into a range of categories. The results show that the standardised precipitation evapotranspiration index with a 6-month accumulation (SPEI6) had a strong correlation with all categories of drought impacts, while the standardised precipitation index with a 12-month accumulation (SPI12) had a weak correlation with drought impacts. Of the impact datasets, “drought-suffering area” and “drought impact area” had a strong relationship with all drought indices in Liaoning province, while “population and number of livestock with difficulty in accessing drinking water” had weak correlations with the indices. The results of this study can support drought planning efforts in the region and provide context for the indices used in drought-monitoring applications, so enabling improved preparedness for drought impacts. The study also demonstrates the potential benefits of routine collection of drought impact information on a local scale.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1561-8633
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 30 Sep 2019 12:55 +0 (UTC)

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