Reconstructing historic and contemporary drought patterns and the societal impacts across China

Tang, LingYun
(2022) Reconstructing historic and contemporary drought patterns and the societal impacts across China. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Drought has long existed in the natural world; however, it is not always easily identified, especially in the pre-instrumental period. Contemporary research presents characteristics to help understand drought parameters, including drought type, classification, mechanisms, alarm systems, and threats. The occurrence of drought is inherently closely related to climatic and hydrological conditions, but sensitive to population growth, increased demand from agriculture, energy, and industry, presenting changes to socio-economic systems. This thesis examines three population centres in China to understand and investigate historical and contemporary drought risk. In China most continuous instrumental temperature and rainfall data series began after 1950, however historical records enable us to examine pre-instrumental records with accounts retrieved from newspapers, missionary books, and other documents. For periods where only documentary records are available, we can convert archival descriptions to drought indices, ultimately enabling the examination of information from pre-instrumental and instrumental periods to create long-term drought series. By collecting drought information from documentary data and researching drought vulnerability from long-term drought series, the risks from meteorological, hydrological, agricultural, and socio-economic droughts can be determined. Drought events with serious consequences and disasters often occur when people have a shallow understanding of drought and when societies lack infrastructure, early warning technology or awareness of the risks to plan, mitigate and alleviate drought impacts, which have historically caused large-scale famine, refugees, and even large numbers of fatalities. For a better understanding drought risk and social impacts across China, this study explores these different aspects of drought, using historic and contemporary sources and instrumental data. It presents several novel aspects including the construction of the longest homogeneous instrumental precipitation series for Shanghai; a new 5-point grading system for the classification of droughts recorded in qualitative sources; and the development of the longest climate series available in Asia (Beijing), providing a drought series spanning 1368-2019.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2023 11:45
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2023 11:45
DOI: 10.17638/03168498
  • Macdonald, Neil
  • Chiverrell, Richard
  • Sangster, Heather