GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR DROUGHT RISK MAPPING IN AUSTRALIA – DROUGHT RISK ANALYSER WEB APP
Keywords: Drought Risk Mapping, GIS, Drought Hazard, Drought Vulnerability, Drought Exposure, Drought Preparedness
Abstract. Australia frequently experiences extended periods of severe droughts which have a significant negative impact on populations and economy. To improve preparedness for drought, decision-support tools which provide comprehensive information about current dry conditions are essential. In this paper, we present a conceptual design for a Drought Risk Analyser (DRA) – web-based information App for drought risk mapping developed using geographic information system (GIS). The developed DRA is based on combining Drought Hazard/Vulnerability/Exposure Indices (DHI, DVI and DEI respectively) into a final Drought Risk Index (DRI) for total of 542 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Australia. Drought indicators selected to compute drought hazard – the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), the Vegetation Health Index (VHI) and Soil Moisture – were obtained through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Space-based Weather and Climate Extremes Monitoring (SWCEM) international initiative. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census data were used to develop the drought-related population vulnerability index – DVI. Australian national Digital Elevation Model and catchment scale land use data were used to calculate the DEI. Implemented functionality of the designed DRA is illustrated using a case study for the 2019 drought in Australia. The DRA App will be beneficial for Australian farmers and rural communities to assist with decision making, as well as for LGA planners to gain insights on current state of drought risk at both local and national levels. The developed methodology of using space-based observations for assessing drought hazard could be applied for developing similar web-based information tools in drought-prone areas of other countries.