Dr. Janaki R.R. Alavalapati, Dean
School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
3301 Forestry and Wildlife Building
602 Duncan Drive
Auburn, Alabama 36849-3418
Drought is a creeping interwoven natural hazard affecting more people than any other natural disaster causing massive damages on economy and ecosystems. Therefore, better understanding of potential drought hazard can lead us to make preparation plans to mitigate the adverse impacts of droughts. This presentation is multifaceted; first, we discuss our recently developed probabilistic drought monitoring and forecasting system that leverages dynamical and statistical modeling benefiting from satellite remote sensing, Bayesian analysis and high-performance computing. Then we elaborate on a multi-stage framework to detect hydrological droughts considering both water quantity and quality variables and discuss how the drought recovery can be estimated. Drought risk is then discussed which refers to the potential losses imposed by a drought event, and it is generally characterized as a function of vulnerability, hazard, and exposure. We show how to assess drought risk at a national level by considering climate change, population growth, and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Drought vulnerability is quantified using a rigorous multi-dimensional framework from six different sectors of economy, energy and infrastructure, health, land use, society, and water resources. Results indicate that controlling the population growth is imperative for mitigating drought risk since it improves socioeconomic vulnerability and reduces potential exposure to drought. Meanwhile, climate change will considerably exacerbate drought and heat-stress hazards. Our findings show that global warming will escalate heat-stress mortality risk, in particular across Central Africa to unprecedented levels. It is revealed that unfortunately, the poorest countries (that have least contribution to climate change) are expected to be most impacted, and they will experience markedly higher risk ratios compared to the wealthier nations.
Dr. Moradkhani joined The University of Alabama in January 2018 as Alton N. Scott Endowed Chair in the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering. Also, he is the founding director of the Center for Complex Hydrosystems Research comprising faculties and students across civil and environmental engineering, computer science, geography, mathematics, geology and business school. Prior to this appointment, he was a professor and director of Water Resources and Remote Sensing Lab in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University. Dr. Moradkhani is a pioneer and has introduced original and groundbreaking methods in few areas notably: data assimilation and ensemble inference; remote sensing and hydroclimate extremes (droughts and floods) which hold the promise for unprecedented advances in predictive modeling under changing environmental and climatic conditions. Dr. Moradkhani is the recipient of several awards including Faculty Research Excellence Award, the Millar Award for the excellence in research, teaching and profession service, the selection to the hall of fame of school of engineering at the University of California, Irvine and best technical paper award from the ASCE Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, to name a few. He is the author of over 100 peer reviewed publications, and has served on the editorial boards of several journals including Water Resources Research, Journal of Hydrology, Water, Remote Sensing, and Hydrologic Engineering. For more, please see www.moradkhani.net