Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Research article
05 Jun 2013
Research article |  | 05 Jun 2013

Early warning of snow-caused disasters in pastoral areas on the Tibetan Plateau

W. Wang, T. Liang, X. Huang, Q. Feng, H. Xie, X. Liu, M. Chen, and X. Wang

Abstract. This study develops a model for early warning of snow-caused livestock disasters on a county basis and proposes a method of qualitative risk assessment of snow disasters at 500 m resolution for pastoral areas on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Data used for the model development include remote sensing data, statistical data of weather, livestock, and social economy, and 45 typical snow disaster cases from 2000 to 2010. The principal component analysis (PCA) approach is used to choose 7 crucial factors that contribute over 85% of information for early warning snow disasters on the TP. They are mean annual probability of snow disaster, number of snow-covered days, livestock stocking rate, continual days of mean daily temperature below −10 °C, grassland burial index, rate of snow-covered grassland, and per livestock gross domestic product. The chosen 411 cases from 2008 to 2010 are used to validate the prediction results from the developed early warning model, with an overall accuracy of 85.64% in predicting snow disasters and no disasters. This suggests that the early warning approach developed in the study has operational potential for predicting snow disasters on the TP.