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.
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