Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Efthymios I. Nikolopoulos

Second Advisor

Pallav Ray

Third Advisor

Ashok Pandit


Accumulating evidence on the impact of climate change on droughts, highlight the necessity for developing effective adaptation and mitigation strategies. Global Drought Layers were developed for historic and future runs of nine global climate models (GCM) of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Model 6th phase (CMIP6). Relative changes of drought characteristics were estimated, and hotspots were identified, especially in South America, Africa, Europe, Western USA, and Australia. Further, changes in future drought risk and severity in Australia are quantified. Historic conditions (1981-2014) and projections for mid-century (2015-2050) and end-century (2051-2100) from four shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0 and SSP5-8.5) are examined. Drought events are identified using both the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) drought characteristics derived from the models are used to develop severity-duration-frequency curves using an extreme value analysis method based on ordinary events. For example, frequency analysis of 12-month duration droughts for the state of South Australia indicates that, under SSP5-8.5, drought severities currently expected to happen on average only once in 100 years could happen as often as once in 3 years by the end of the century, with a thirty-three times higher risk (from 1% to 33%), while under SSP1-2.6, the increase is fivefold (1% to 5%). The significant difference in the increase of drought risk between the two extreme scenarios highlights the urge to reduce greenhouse gases emission in order to avoid extreme drought conditions to become the norm by the end of the century.