Drought is one of the major threats to societies in Sub-Saharan Africa, as the majority of the population highly depends on rain-fed subsistence agriculture and traditional water supply systems. Hot-spot areas of potential drought impact need to be identified to reduce risk and adapt a growing population to a changing environment. This paper presents the Blended Drought Index (BDI), an integrated tool for estimating the impact of drought as a climate-induced hazard in the semi-arid Cuvelai-Basin of Angola and Namibia. It incorporates meteorological and agricultural drought characteristics that impair the population’s ability to ensure food and water security. The BDI uses a copula function to combine common standardized drought indicators that describe precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture and vegetation conditions. Satellite remote sensing products were processed to analyze drought frequency, severity and duration. As the primary result, an integrated drought hazard map was built to spatially depict drought hot-spots. Temporally, the BDI correlates well with millet/sorghum yield (r = 0.51) and local water consumption (r = −0.45) and outperforms conventional indicators. In the light of a drought’s multifaceted impact on society, the BDI is a simple and transferable tool to identify areas highly threatened by drought in an integrated manner.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited