Using Space and Spatial Technologies for Atmosphere, Climate and Environmental Monitoring / Early Warning System


Suelynn Choy


Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Papua New Guinea National Weather Service, RMIT University SPACE Research Centre, and the World Meteorological Organization.

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Using Space and Spatial Technologies for Atmosphere, Climate and Environmental Monitoring/ Early Warning System

Case study: Advancing Drought Risk Knowledge for Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is in the top 15 countries most at risk to natural hazards such as drought according to the 2020 World Risk Report. In PNG, agrometeorological drought has significant impacts on subsistence agriculture, as over 80% of the population is estimated to be involved in subsistence agriculture and cash crops. In 2015, El Niño-induced drought resulted in widespread food shortages when drought-related frosts caused subsistence crops to fail at a catastrophic scale. It was estimated that up to 2.4 million people were affected and many perished from famine conditions.

The use of space-based observation and spatial technologies contribute towards advancing disaster risk knowledge through efficient risk assessment. Hazard, vulnerability, and exposure indicators most applicable to drought risk assessment were determined by integrating data from space-based satellites with information regarding the socio-economic, geographic, and climactic characteristics of PNG provinces.

Based on the selected inputs, spatial maps of the area covering the 22 provinces of PNG, representing vulnerability, exposure, and hazard per unit area, were produced. The final drought risk index value for each PNG province was determined through the integration of the drought vulnerability, hazard and exposure index maps and a final drought risk map was then generated (image attached). The extent of drought vulnerability, hazard, exposure, and risk displayed on the respective maps was classified into four levels: mild, moderate, severe, and extreme.