This paper focuses on the environment of Ethiopia, a country highly sensitive to droughts severely affecting vegetation. Vegetation monitoring of Ethiopian Highlands requires visualization of environmental parameters to assess droughts negatively influencing agricultural sustainable management of crops. Therefore, this study presented mapping of several climate and environmental variables including Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). The data were visualized and interpreted alongside the topographic data to evaluate the environmental conditions for vegetation. The datasets included WorldClim and GEBCO and Digital Chart of the World (DCW). Research has threefold objectives: i) environmental mapping; ii) technical cartographic scripting; iii) data processing. Following variables were visualized on seven new maps: 1) topography; 2) soil moisture; 3) T °C minimum; 4) T °C maximum; 5) Wind speed; 6) Precipitation; 7) Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). New high-resolution thematic environmental maps are presented and the utility of GMT for mapping multi-source datasets is described. With varying degrees of soil moisture (mean value of 15.0), min T°C (₋1.8°C to 24°C), max T°C (14.4°C to 40.2°C) and wind speed (0.1 to 6.1 m/s), the maps demonstrate the variability of the PDSI fields over the country area (from ₋11.7 to 2.3) induced by the complex sum of these variables and intensified by the topographic effects notable over the Ethiopian Highlands which can be used for vegetation analysis. The paper presents seven new maps and contributes to the environmental studies of Ethiopia.
1 Laboratory of Image Synthesis and Analysis, École polytechnique de Bruxelles (Brussels Faculty of Engineering), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Brussels, Belgium