Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Dan Runfola

Committee Members

Dan Runfola

Shannon White

Matthias Leu


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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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