Integration of Geospatial Technologies in Monitoring Drought Events in a Coastal Area of Vietnam (Case study: Binh Thuan Province)
Tran, Hoa Thi
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Drought is a climatic event regarding prolonged "drier than normal" conditions. Precipitation deficits, crop-moisture stress, soil-water unbalance, sudden stream flow cut-offs and low carrying capacity of ecosystems are responses to drought. Drought can occur in humid to arid climates, however, drought is more severe in arid and semi-arid areas due to the fact that in those distinctive areas, water resources are extremely limited and restricted. Additionally, local ecologies and ecosystems in arid regions are very fragile. Once a water competition occurs, critical services of ecosystems such as pure water, recreation, and land productivity will be threatened. This research focuses on prolonged drought events that have been occurring more frequently in a coastal province of South Central Vietnam – named Binh Thuan. The study area is distinctive because its climate is characterized as one of the driest provinces in Vietnam. Annual rainfall in the North and near the coast of the province is less than 800 mm per year. During 6 months of dry season, there is almost no rain, or less than 50 mm. Due to precipitation deficits and high surface temperatures in recent years, meteorological droughts have occurred more frequently, and lasted longer, thereby stressing water resources for vegetation, wildlife, households, and industry. The occurrence of prolonged droughts has constrained economic activities in the coastal areas, especially agriculture and aquaculture. Furthermore, a long duration of dry conditions coupled with unsustainable land management (such as overgrazing), "drought-sensitive" soils in areas with sand and barren lands may introduce and accelerate risks of desertification processes (land productivity deterioration and unable to recover). This research uses geospatial technologies to monitor drought severity and drought impacts on land use and land cover. Chapter 1 is a brief introduction and literature review of the drought context in Binh Thuan Province to place the research questions and objectives in content. Chapter 2 discusses the occurrence of meteorological droughts in Binh Thuan Province, then proposes climatic indices able to monitor this type of drought. Chapter 3 focuses on explaining and assessing uneven dry conditions that stressed vegetation health in the study area. This chapter investigates spatiotemporal distributions and frequencies of prolonged agricultural droughts using remotely sensed data and anomalies of precipitation distribution. Results indicate that coastal areas in the North of Binh Thuan are subject to severe droughts. Chapter 4 assesses human impacts on land management and practices in the study area during drought periods. Results show that in recent years (2010 to present), local governments and residents have implemented strategies to prevent sand dominance and to adapt to water shortages during dry seasons, such as vegetative cover, crop rotation with drought-tolerant plants and wind breaks. Accuracy was assessed using field data collected in the summer of 2016, in conjunction with Google Earth imagery. In summary, this dissertation enhances understanding of drought events and impacts in Binh Thuan Province by considering different types of drought - meteorological and agricultural drought, and interactions of drought and human impacts upon land management and land practices during dry periods. Furthermore, findings and results of this research have demonstrated the effectiveness of remotely sensed datasets, and other geospatial technologies, such as geographic information systems, in modeling drought severity and in examining efforts and drought-adaptive practices of local residents. This work is a valuable foundation on which further studies can build to support policy development to protect and reserve soil-land productivity in Binh Thuan and other coastal regions of Vietnam affected by prolonged droughts.
General Audience Abstract
Drought is a temporal climatic event with "drier than normal" conditions. While drought can occur in any climates, it can be more extreme in arid and semi-arid areas where annual rainfall and water resources are limited. Depending on types of drought, its presences and impacts may differ: (1) meteorological drought relates to a decrease of average rainfall/snowfall may resulting in moisture stress, (2) hydrological drought leads to a reduction of streamflow and groundwater, and (3) agricultural drought influences soil-water-crop balance or vegetation health. Prolonged drought – abnormally long duration of dry conditions, coupled with unsustainable management in water and land practice may cause losses of land productivity, promote soil erosion, and result in sand dominance in coastal areas. These land degradation processes can lead to "a desert-like condition" in impacted areas. This research concerns drought and its impacts in a coastal province in South central Vietnam, Binh Thuan. The study area is distinctive because its climate is characterized as one of the driest provinces in Vietnam. Annual rainfall in the North and near the coast is less than 800 mm per year, and during the 6 months of the dry season, there is almost no rain, or less than 50 mm. Due to precipitation deficits and high surface temperatures in recent years, meteorological droughts have occurred more frequently and lasted longer, stressing water resources for vegetation, wildlife, households, and industry. Additionally, unsustainable land management, such as overgrazing, coupled with movements of sand and barren lands from the coast inland, have accelerated the risks of land degradation. This research applies an integration of geospatial technologies for monitoring drought severity and impacts on land management and illustrates how local people have adapted to droughts.
- Doctoral Dissertations