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Integrating human behavior dynamics into drought risk assessment—A sociohydrologic, agent‐based approach

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Droughts are a persistent and costly hazard impacting human and environmental systems. As climate variability continues to increase and socioeconomic development influences the distribution of wealth and people, drought risk is expected to increase in many parts of the world. The unique characteristics of droughts—namely their slow onset, large spatiotemporal extent, human‐influenced propagation, delayed impacts and teleconnection potential—make it difficult to correctly assess drought impact and calculate risk. Further complicating this calculation is the capacity for humans to make adaptive decisions before, during, and after a drought event, which in turn alters expected impacts. In this sense, droughts are equally a social and hydroclimatic issue. Risk perception is one of the main factors driving adaptation decisions, yet most models neglect how humans view and respond to risk, and in particular how experiences influence decisions through time. In this overview, we describe a framework that extends the traditional risk modeling approach to include the two‐way feedback between the transient adaptation decisions and drought exposure, vulnerability and hazard. We discuss how a sociohydrologic, agent‐based modeling setup, focused on individual and collective actions, can simulate the adaptive behaviors of different stakeholders to examine how emergent actions might influence projected drought risk. We suggest such an approach can provide a test‐bed for understanding adaptive behaviors in an increasingly drought‐prone world and could allow for better prioritization of drought adaptation strategies; refined understanding of future scenarios; and a vehicle to drive planning and resilience building. This article is categorized under: Science of Water > Water Extremes Engineering Water > Planning Water Engineering Water > Methods
Changing levels of drought risk due to no adaptation (top line), economically rational adaptation (bottom line), and bounded‐rational adaptation all influenced by experienced drought events (vertical bars). (Reprinted with permission from Aerts et al. (). Copyright © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature)
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Tiered framework proposing an agent‐based sociohydrologic approach for drought risk modeling. The possible impact (i.e., disaster risk) of a drought drives an agent‐based decision model (tier 3), in which autonomous agents respond to the perceived risk, considering their adaptation abilities and social network. Such agents make individual decisions and determine the set of adaptation measures implemented in the current time step. The combined effect of these adaptation measures is used as input (tier 2) into a water resource, hydrological, economic, and/or land use model. Such models use data on climate variability, economic and population changes, and external forcing to calculate the current drought hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and the possible impact (materialization of risk) (tier 1). The resulting impact will affect each agent's risk perception, serving as new input for the next time step. As such, impact calculation over time, that is, risk assessment, is a dynamic process grounded in emergent adaptation decisions, a changing climate, and developing socioeconomic conditions
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Engineering Water > Planning Water
Science of Water > Water Extremes

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