Skip to main content

Drought risk assessment using remote sensing and GIS techniques

Abstract

Beginning with a discussion of drought definitions, this review paper attempts to provide a review of fundamental concepts of drought, classification of droughts, drought indices, and the role of remote sensing and geographic information systems for drought evaluation. Owing to the rise in water demand and looming climate change, recent years have witnessed much focus on global drought scenarios. As a natural hazard, drought is best characterized by multiple climatological and hydrological parameters. An understanding of the relationships between these two sets of parameters is necessary to develop measures for mitigating the impacts of droughts. Droughts are recognized as an environmental disaster and have attracted the attention of environmentalists, ecologists, hydrologists, meteorologists, geologists, and agricultural scientists. Temperatures; high winds; low relative humidity; and timing and characteristics of rains, including distribution of rainy days during crop growing seasons, intensity, and duration of rain, and onset and termination, play a significant role in the occurrence of droughts. In contrast to aridity, which is a permanent feature of climate and is restricted to low rainfall areas, a drought is a temporary aberration. Often, there is confusion between a heat wave and a drought, and the distinction is emphasized between heat wave and drought, noting that a typical time scale associated with a heat wave is on the order of a week, while a drought may persist for months or even years. The combination of a heat wave and a drought has dire socio-economic consequences. Drought risk is a product of a region’s exposure to the natural hazard and its vulnerability to extended periods of water shortage. If nations and regions are to make progress in reducing the serious consequences of drought, they must improve their understanding of the hazard and the factors that influence vulnerability. It is critical for drought-prone regions to better understand their drought climatology (i.e., the probability of drought at different levels of intensity and duration) and establish comprehensive and integrated drought information system that incorporates climate, soil, and water supply factors such as precipitation, temperature, soil moisture, snow pack, reservoir and lake levels, ground water levels, and stream flow. All drought-prone nations should develop national drought policies and preparedness plans that place emphasis on risk management rather than following the traditional approach of crisis management, where the emphasis is on reactive, emergency response measures. Crisis management decreases self-reliance and increases dependence on government and donors.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11

References

  1. Allaby M (2003) Draughts. Book, ISBN-13:7980816047932

  2. AMS (American Meteorological Society) (1997) Meteorological drought policy statement. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 78:847–849

    Google Scholar 

  3. AMS (American Meteorological Society) (2004) Statement on meteorological drought. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 85:771–773

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bajgiran PR, Darvishsefat AA, Khalilic A, Makhdoum MF (2008) Using AVHRR-based vegetation indices for drought monitoring in the Northwest of Iran. J Arid Environ 72:1086–1096

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bordi I, Fraedrich K, Petitta M et al (2006) Large-scale assessment of drought variability based on NCEP/NCAR and ERA-40 re-analyses. Water Resour Manag 20(6):899–915. doi:10.1007/s11269-005-9013-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Che S, Li C, Shen S (2010) Analysis of drought-flood spatial–temporal characteristics based on standard precipitation index in Hebei Province. Chin J Agrometeorol 31(1):137–143 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Dai A (2010) Drought under global warming: a review. WIREs Clim Chang 2:45–65. doi:10.1002/wcc.81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Dai A (2011) Characteristics and trends in various forms of the Palmer Drought Severity Index during 1900–2008. J Geophys Res 116:D12115. doi:10.1029/2010JD015541

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ding Y, Hayes MJ, Widhalm M (2010) Measuring economic impacts of drought: a review and discussion. Papers in Natural Resources. Paper 196. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/natrespapers/196

  10. Food and Agriculture Organization (1983) Guidelines: land evaluation for rainfed agriculture. FAO Soils Bulletin 52, Rome

  11. Feng P, Zhong X, Zhang B (2000) A drought degree evaluation method based on the artificial neural network. Syst Eng Theory Pract 20(3):141–144 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Gebrehiwot T, Veen AVD, Maathuis B (2011) Spatial and temporal assessment of drought in the Northern highlands of Ethiopia. Int J Appl Earth Obs Geoinf 13:309–321

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ghulam A, Qin Q (2007) Modified perpendicular drought index (MPDI): a real-time drought monitoring method. ISPRS J Photogramm Remote Sens 62(2):150–164

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Glantz MH (2003) Usable science: early warning systems: do’s and don’ts. Report of workshop, 20–23 October, Shangai, China

  15. Gregoric G, Sušnik A (2010) Drought Management Centre for South Eastern Europe. In: Global environmental change: challenges to science and society in southeastern Europe. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-8695-2_20. Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010 and published in International Conference “Global Environmental Change: Challenges for Science and Society in South-Eastern Europe” held 19–21 May 2008

  16. Gumbel EJ (1963) Statistical Forecast of Droughts. Bull Int Assoc Sci Hydrol 8(1):5–23

  17. Hadish L (2010) Drought risk assessment using remote sensing and GIS: a case study in southern zones, Tigray Region, Ethiopia. Msc., Thesis Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  18. Han P, Wang PX, Zhang SY, Zhu DH (2010) Drought forecasting based on the remote sensing data using ARIMA models. Math Comput Model 51:1398–1403

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hayes MJ (2012) Drought indices, National Drought Mitigation Center (http://www.drought.unl.edu/whatis/indices.htm). With modifications by Dev Niyogi and Umarporn Charusambot, Indiana State Climate Office, Purdue University (http://iclimate.org/2.2.2012).

  20. Hennessy K, Fawcett R, Kirono D, Mpelasoka F, Jonesb D, Bathols J, Whetton P, Stafford Smith M, Howden M, Mitchell C, Plummer N (2008) An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events. Report by Climate and Ocean Services Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship and Drought Policy Review Climate Change Division Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Australian

  21. Hisdal H, Tallaksena L (2003) Estimation of regional meteorological and hydrological drought characteristics: a case study for Denmark. J Hydrol 281:230–247

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Huo Z, Li S, Wang S et al (2003) Study on the major agriculture meteorological disaster risk assessment. J Nat Disasters 18(6):692–702 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  23. Jain SK, Keshri R, Goswami A, Sarkar A (2010) Application of meteorological and vegetation indices for evaluation of drought impact: a case study for Rajasthan, India. Nat Hazards 54:643–656. doi:10.1007/s11069-009-9493-x, Springer Science + Business Media B.V

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Karavitis CA, Alexandris S, Tsesmelis DE, Athanasopoulos G (2011) Application of the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) in Greece. Water J 3:787–805. doi:10.3390/w3030787

    Google Scholar 

  25. Kenny P (2008) Assessment of the social impacts of drought and government and non-government social support services. Issues Paper. http://www.daff.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/710644/social_panels_isues_paper.pdf

  26. Linsely RK Jr, Kohler MA, Paulhus JLH (1959) Applied hydrology. McGraw Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  27. Livada I, Assimakopoulos VD (2007) Spatial and temporal analysis of drought in Greece using the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Theor Appl Climatol 89:143–153. doi:10.1007/s00704-005-0227-z, Printed in The Netherlands

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Mastrangelo AM, Mazzucotelli E, Guerra D, De Vita P, Cattivelli L (2012) Improvement of drought resistance in crops: from conventional breeding to genomic selection. In: Venkateswarlu et al (eds) Crop stress and its management: perspectives and strategies. Springer Science + Business Media B.V. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2220-0-7

  29. McKee TB, Doesken NJ, Kleist J (1993) The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scales. Preprints, 8th Conference on Applied Climatology, 17–22 January, Anaheim, CA, pp. 179–184

  30. Mishra AK, Singh VP (2010) A review of drought concepts. J Hydrol 391:202–216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Mishra AK, Singh VP (2011) Drought modeling—a review. J Hydrol 403:157–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. MWD (Mediterranean Water Scarcity and Drought Working Group) (2007) Mediterranean Water Scarcity and Drought Report. Technical report-009. http://www.emwis.net/topics/WaterScarcity/PDF/MedWSD_FINAL_Edition

  33. Nagarajan R (2009) Drought assessment. Capital Publishing Company, co-published by Springer Science + Business

  34. Nagarajan R (2010) Drought assessment. Earth Environ Sci 2010:160–204. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2500-5_5, Springer Science+Business

    Google Scholar 

  35. Ni S, Gu Y (2005) Study on frangibility zoning of agricultural drought in China. Adv Water Sci 16(5):705–709 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  36. Owrangi MA, Adamowski J, Rahnemaei M, Mohammadzadeh A, Sharifan RA (2011) Drought monitoring methodology based on AVHRR images and SPOT vegetation maps. J Water Resour Prot 3:325–334

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Palmer WC (1965) Meteorological drought. US Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau, Research Paper No. 45, p. 58

  38. Palmer WC (1968) Keeping track of crop moisture conditions, nationwide: the new crop moisture index. Weatherwise 21:156–161

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Paltineanu C, Mihailescu IF, Prefac Z, Dragota C, Vasenciuc F, Claudia N (2009) Combining the standardized precipitation index and climatic water deficit in characterizing droughts: a case study in Romania. Theor Appl Climatol 97:219–233

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Quiring SM, Ganesh S (2010) Evaluating the utility of the Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) for monitoring meteorological drought in Texas. Agric For Meteorol 150:330–339

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Quiring S, Nielsen-Gammon JW, Srinivasan R, Miller T, Narasimhan B (2007) Drought Monitoring Index for Texas. Final Technical Report submitted by the Texas A&M Research Foundation (RF- 468511) to the Texas Water Development Board on behalf of the project investigators (June 30, 2007)

  42. Schneider SH (1996) Encyclopedia of climate and weather. Oxford University Press, New York

  43. Schubert S, Koster R, Hoerling M (2007) Predicting drought on seasonal-to-decadal time scales. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1625–1630

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Shahid S, Behrawan H (2008) Drought risk assessment in the western part of Bangladesh. Nat Hazards J 46:391–413. doi:10.1007/s11069-007-9191-5, Springer Science + Business Media B.V

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Singh RP, Roy S, Kogan F (2003) Vegetation and temperature condition indices from NOAAAVHRR data for drought monitoring over India. Int J Remote Sens 24(22):4393–4402

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Tao J, Zhongfa Z, Shui C (2011) Drought monitoring and analyzing on typical karst ecological fragile area based on GIS. Procedia Environ Sci 10:2091–2096. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection. doi:10.1016/j.proenv.2011.09.326. Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

  47. UN Secretariat General (1994) United Nations convention to combat drought and desertification in countries experiencing serious droughts and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Paris

  48. Wang PX, Wan ZM, Gong JY, Li XW, Wang JD (2003) Advances in drought monitoring by using remotely sensed normalized difference vegetation index and land surface temperature products. Adv Earth Sci 18(4):527–533 (in Chinese and cited from Han et al. 2010)

    Google Scholar 

  49. Wilhite DA (2000) Drought as a natural hazard: concepts and definitions. In: Wilhite DA (ed) Droughts: a global assessment. Routledge, London, pp 3–18

    Google Scholar 

  50. Wilhite DA, Buchanan-Smith M (2005) Drought as hazard: understanding the natural and social context. In: Wilhite DA (ed) Drought and water crises: science, technology, and management issues. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Florida, pp 3–29

  51. Wilhite DA, Glantz MH (1985) Understanding the drought phenomenon: the role of definitions. Water Int 10:111–120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Wilhite DA, Glantz MH (1987) Understanding the drought phenomena: the role of definitions. In: Wilhite DA, Easterling WE, Deobarah A (eds) Planning of drought: towards a reduction of societal vulnerability. Westview Press, Wood, pp 11–27

    Google Scholar 

  53. Wipulanusat W, Nakrod S, Prabnarong P (2009) Multi-hazard risk assessment using GIS and RS applications: a case study of Pak Phanang Basin. Walailak J Sci Tech 6(1):109–125

    Google Scholar 

  54. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (1986) Report on drought and countries affected by drought during 1974–1985. WMO, Geneva, p. 118

  55. Wu J, He B, Lu A, Zhou L, Liu M, Zhao L (2011) Quantitative assessment and spatial characteristics analysis of agricultural drought vulnerability in China. Nat Hazards 56:785–801

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Yevjevich VM (1967) An objective approach to definitions and investigations of continental hydrologic droughts. Hydrologic Paper 23. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

  57. Zhang D, Wang G, Zhou H (2011a) Assessment on agricultural drought risk based on variable fuzzy sets model. Chin Geogr Sci 21(2):167–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Zhang X-P, Rong-Fang L, Sheng L, Quna F, Xiao-Xiao W (2011b) The study of dynamic monitor of rice drought in Jiangxi Province with remote sensing. Procedia Environ Sci 10:1847–1853

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Zhou F (2005) Evaluation index system of regional drought and drought strategy. Shandong University, Jinan

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Abdel-Aziz Belal.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Belal, AA., El-Ramady, H.R., Mohamed, E.S. et al. Drought risk assessment using remote sensing and GIS techniques. Arab J Geosci 7, 35–53 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-012-0707-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Agricultural drought
  • Meteorological drought
  • MODIS
  • NDVI
  • GIS and remote sensing
  • Drought indices