First Advisor

Hamid Moradkhani

Date of Publication

Fall 11-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Droughts -- Risk assessment -- Africa, Climatic changes -- Africa



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 135 pages)


Drought is among the costliest natural hazards developing slowly and affecting large areas, which imposes severe consequences on society and economy. Anthropogenic climate change is expected to exacerbate drought in various regions of the globe, making its associated socioeconomic impacts more severe. Such impacts are of higher concern in Africa, which is mainly characterized by arid climate and lacking infrastructure as well as social development. Furthermore, the continent is expected to experience vast population growth, which will make it more vulnerable to the adverse effects of drought. This study provides the first comprehensive multi-dimensional assessment of drought risk across the African continent as a function of hazard, vulnerability, and exposure. A multi-model and multi-scenario approach is employed to quantify drought hazard using the most recent ensemble of regional climate models and a multi-scalar drought index. Moreover, a rigorous framework is proposed and applied to assess drought vulnerability based on various sectors of economy, energy and infrastructure, health, land use, society, and water resources. Drought risk is then projected for different population scenarios and the changes of drought risk and the role of each component are investigated. In addition, the impacts of climate change on heat-stress mortality risk is assessed across the Middle East and North Africa. The results indicate vast increase for the projected drought risk with varied spatiotemporal patterns. Population growth and climate change will significantly escalate drought risk, especially in distant future. Therefore, climate change mitigation and adaptation planning as well as social development strategies should be carried out immediately in order to reduce the projected adverse risks on human life and society.


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