Natural Hazards

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 431–458

An analysis of the drought in Yunnan, China, from a perspective of society drought severity

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11069-013-0572-7

Cite this article as:
Wang, J. & Meng, Y. Nat Hazards (2013) 67: 431. doi:10.1007/s11069-013-0572-7


Drought disaster management entails not only understanding meteorological drought as a natural hazard but also evaluating the adverse societal impacts related to the economy and human lives. For the purpose of quantifying the drought severity from the perspective of society drought, a drought index, namely “Society Drought Severity Index” (SDSI), was put forward to analyze the drought in Yunnan Province of China. In SDSI for Yunnan, the drought severity was represented by the weighted discrepancy between the “appropriate” water needs and the total available water resources, inspired by the established Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). Technically, the trend in historical water consumption records in agricultural, industrial, and domestic sectors was applied to represent the appropriate water needs; an apparent “runoff” was used to represent the available water resource in Yunnan. The SDSI of Yunnan revealed a trend toward increasing drought severity, which resulted from a combination of meteorological changes and water needs escalation. Moreover, the spatial center of the 2010 drought in Yunnan based on SDSI was different from that identified by PDSI, which exactly reflected the influence of water needs on drought severity. The SDSI was deemed to be a beneficial tool for drought disaster management and drought risk governance.


Drought Spatial variability Temporal trend China Water resource 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster (Ministry of Education)Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency ManagementBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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