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Open AccessArticle

Agricultural Drought Risk Assessment in Southwest China

Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Department of Environment and Resources, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China
Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Hydrological Cycle and Sponge City Technology, College of Water Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
School of Land Science and Technology, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 1064;
Received: 10 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Drought disasters jeopardize agricultural production and are expected to become more serious in the context of global climate change. However, in China, little attention has been paid to evaluating agricultural drought risk in humid areas (such as in Southwest China), which have also been affected by severe drought in recent years. In this work, we used the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), which was computed from high-quality monthly precipitation and temperature data from 92 rain-gauge stations across Southwest China, to study the drought characteristics (e.g., intensity, duration, and frequency) and their decadal variations from 1960 to 2017. Furthermore, we applied a widely accepted conceptual model that emphasizes the combined role of drought hazard (calculated by the intensity and frequency of drought) and agricultural drought vulnerability (integrated with high-resolution soil properties, climate, topography, irrigation, and gross domestic product) to conduct a spatial assessment of agricultural drought risk at a 1-km grid scale. The results revealed that drought has become more serious and frequent in Southwest China, especially since the 2000s. About 27.4% of the agricultural area has been exposed to an extremely high risk of drought, 33.5% to a high risk, 22.5% to a moderate risk, and 16.6% to a low risk. The extreme agricultural risk areas were located mainly in northeastern and southeastern Chongqing, southwestern Sichuan, northeastern and eastern Guizhou, and central and eastern Yunnan. Our findings highlighted that more attention should be paid to the agricultural drought risk in humid regions of China. Furthermore, this work could set the stage for policy makers and practitioners to take measures to reduce the agricultural drought risk in Southwest China. View Full-Text
Keywords: Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI); assessment; agricultural drought risk; Southwest China Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI); assessment; agricultural drought risk; Southwest China
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Zeng, Z.; Wu, W.; Li, Z.; Zhou, Y.; Guo, Y.; Huang, H. Agricultural Drought Risk Assessment in Southwest China. Water 2019, 11, 1064.

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