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Sensitivity Assessment to the Occurrence of Different Types of Droughts Using GIS and AHP Techniques


In this study, using Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Geographic Information System (GIS), the sensitivity to the occurrence of different types of droughts including meteorological drought (Med), hydrological drought (Hyd), and agricultural drought (Agd) were evaluated. In this research, at first, some of the effective indicators in each type of droughts were selected (four indicators in Med, three indicators in Hyd, and seven indicators in Agd), then using the ArcGIS 10.3 software, the sensitivity map of drought for each indicator were prepared (all indicators classified in four classes including mild, moderate, severe, and very severe). Then, using the AHP method the weight of each indicator in each type of droughts was determined and the final map of drought sensitivity for different types of droughts was prepared by superposition the maps of effective indicators in each drought. The final map of drought sensitivity was prepared by superposition the Med, Hyd, and Agd sensitivity maps (after determining the weight of each using AHP). In the Med, 43.29% of the study area (Fars province, Iran) was classified in the moderate class of drought sensitivity and 56.71% in the severe class. In the Hyd, 0.46%, 33.25%, 62.49%, and 3.80% of the study area were classified in the mild, moderate, severe, and very severe classes (respectively), and in the Agd, 1.18%, 50.23%, and 48.59% of the study area were classified in the mild, moderate, and severe classes. The results showed that in final drought sensitivity, the Med with a weight equal to 0.36 was the most effective variable, and based on the final map, 38.26% and 61.74% of the study area were classified in the moderate and severe classes of drought sensitivity.

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Data Availability

The data used in this research are available with the corresponding author and can be shared upon reasonable request.


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We would like to thank Iran meteorological organization, water organization of Fars and Fars agricultural Jihad for providing the data series


No funds, grants, or other support was received.

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Abdol Rassoul Zarei contributed in the data collection, analyzing the results and writing the article, Mohammad Mehdi Moghimi contributed in analyzing the results and Elham Koohi contributed in the data collection.

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Correspondence to Abdol Rassoul Zarei.

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Zarei, A.R., Moghimi, M.M. & Koohi, E. Sensitivity Assessment to the Occurrence of Different Types of Droughts Using GIS and AHP Techniques. Water Resour Manage 35, 3593–3615 (2021).

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  • Meteorological drought
  • Hydrological droughts
  • Agricultural drought
  • AHP
  • Drought sensitivity