Drought hazard in Kazakhstan in 2000–2016: a remote sensing perspective

  • Olena DubovykEmail author
  • Gohar Ghazaryan
  • Javier González
  • Valerie Graw
  • Fabian Löw
  • Jonas Schreier


Droughts have significant negative impacts on livelihoods and economy of Kazakhstan. In this study, we assessed and characterized drought hazard events in Kazakhstan using satellite Remote Sensing time series for the period between 2000 and 2016. First, we calculated Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) and Standardized Enhanced Vegetation Index anomalies (ZEVI) based on 250 m Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) time series. Second, we assessed vegetation cover changes for the observation period. Third, we analyzed different characteristics of the drought hazard as well as spatial distribution of the drought-affected areas within the country. The results confirmed that drought was one of the environmental challenges for Kazakhstan in 2000–2016. The obtained maps showed that drought hazard conditions were observed every year, though the areal coverage of the drought conditions largely varied between the analyzed years. The calculated drought indices indicated that in years 2000, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, more than 50% of the area of the country were affected by drought conditions of different severity with the largest droughts in terms of the areal spread occurring in 2012 and 2014. We concluded that the pre-requisite of successful implementation of drought hazard and risk mitigation strategies is availability of spatially explicit, timely, and reliable information on drought hazard. This suggests the necessity of incorporation of remote sensing–based drought information, as was demonstrated in this paper, in the national drought monitoring system of Kazakhstan.


Drought hazard and risk MODIS Drought early warning system For achieving sustainable development goals (SDG) Central Asia 


Funding information

The research support was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project: GlobeDrought, grant no. 02WGR1457F BMBF Project ID: 02WGR1457A-F).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL)University of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Remote Sensing Research Group (RSRG), Department of GeographyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.MapTailor Geospatial Consulting GbRBonnGermany

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