Calculating a Drought Vulnerability Index for South Africa based on Social and Biophysical Characteristics
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Using census data from the 2011 South African census and precipitation data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), a multicriteria index ranking the relative climate vulnerability to drought of areas in South Africa was created. The index was developed by aggregating social characteristics into a Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) using a principle components analysis (PCA), and aggregating biophysical characteristics into a standardized precipitation index (SPI) representative of drought risk. These separate indices were then aggregated using a Pareto Rank Order to determine the overall vulnerability of areas relative to other areas in the country. The resulting index was able to identify the Western Cape province, including the city of Cape Town, as a highly vulnerable area. In light of the recent drought and its severe impacts on Cape Town, the use of these methods to quantify vulnerability social and physical vulnerability and combine these to indicate overall vulnerability is supported. Additionally, these methods can highlight differences in the vulnerabilities of groups within larger communities when it is applied to a neighborhood scale.
Gaines, Mollie, "Calculating a Drought Vulnerability Index for South Africa based on Social and Biophysical Characteristics" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1380.
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