Indicator-to-impact links to help improve agricultural drought preparedness in Thailand

Tanguy, Maliko ORCID:; Eastman, Michael; Magee, Eugene; Barker, Lucy J. ORCID:; Chitson, Thomas; Ekkawatpanit, Chaiwat; Goodwin, Daniel; Hannaford, Jamie ORCID:; Holman, Ian; Pardthaisong, Liwa; Parry, Simon; Rey Vicario, Dolores; Visessri, Supattra. 2023 Indicator-to-impact links to help improve agricultural drought preparedness in Thailand [in special issue: Drought, society, and ecosystems (NHESS/BG/GC/HESS inter-journal SI)] Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 23 (7). 2419-2441.

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Droughts in Thailand are becoming more severe due to climate change. Developing a reliable drought monitoring and early warning system (DMEWS) is essential to strengthen a country's resilience to droughts. However, for a DMEWS to be valuable, the drought indicators provided to stakeholders must have relevance to tangible impacts on the ground. Here, we analyse drought indicator-to-impact relationships in Thailand, using a combination of correlation analysis and machine learning techniques (random forest). In the correlation analysis, we study the link between meteorological drought indicators and high-resolution remote sensing vegetation indices used as proxies for crop yield and forest growth impacts. Our analysis shows that this link varies depending on land use, season and region. The random forest models built to estimate regional crop productivity allow a more in-depth analysis of the crop- and region-specific importance of different drought indicators. The results highlight seasonal patterns of drought vulnerability for individual crops, usually linked to their growing season, although the effects are somewhat attenuated in irrigated regions. Integration of the approaches provides new, detailed knowledge of crop- and region-specific indicator-to-impact links, which can form the basis of targeted mitigation actions in an improved DMEWS in Thailand and could be applied to other parts of Southeast Asia and beyond.

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: Agriculture and Soil Science
Meteorology and Climatology
Computer Science
Data and Information
Date made live: 20 Jul 2023 15:15 +0 (UTC)

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