Methodology of Mongolia NCAP Project

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 30th Mar 2011

In the context of the NCAP project, four interrelated studies were carried out to further develop the understanding of climate change vulnerabilities in Mongolia, with a special focus on rural herding communities. The studies cover different areas related to the livelihood activities of rural communities including exposure to (extreme) climate events, pasture resources, water resources, and food security. The results from the studies have served as a basis for discussing and formulating more specific adaptation measures which are presented in the following section.

Analysis of exposure to climate hazards

The study on climate change exposure and extreme events further builds on existing climate science work in Mongolia in three respects. Firstly, whereas previous studies have mainly focused on climate averages, this study has dealt with extreme climate events such as prolonged droughts and harsh winters (dzud). Secondly, the study provides an update on the historic trend analysis up to the year 2007. Finally, the PRECIS Regional Climate Model was used to downscale GCM data for key climate parameters and identify vulnerability hotspots in Mongolia.

Pasture Resources

Pasturelands constitute one of the key resources for the livestock based economy in Mongolia. According to the 2005 Land Inventory Report, 116 million ha or 73.9% of the total land surface of Mongolia can be considered as pastureland. Being one of the key resources in the Mongolian economy, this study has looked into historic changes in pasture resources and has sought to understand how these changes can be related to changes in climate and other socio-economic developments.

In order to analyze the historic trends in pasture resources, the study has examined the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) using NOAA-AVHRR data. To further understand trends in pasture resources, the normalized value of NDVI, ZNDVI, was calculated. This also allows comparison of the trends in pasture resources between different areas and regions in the country.

Based on a detailed analysis of the relationship between the vegetation and climate conditions in the different natural zones, a vegetation growth index was developed. Using this formula, threshold values were identified marking the point at which a shift of vegetation or natural zone is likely to occur. Future projections of temperature and rainfall in Mongolia were then used in combination with the threshold values to map the shifting boundaries
of the different natural zones

Water Resources

The results of various other studies on water resources and climate change were synthesised in the NCAP project and an analysis of groundwater resources on one site in the center of Uberkhangai province was also carried out.

Socio-Economic Indicators of Vulnerability

In Mongolia research of the livelihoods of the population has mostly been connected to the purpose of learning and understanding poverty levels at the national level. The results of these surveys divide the population into four groups: rich-middle, middle-medium, middle- poor and poor. According to 2006 census data, there are 170.7 thousand herding households in Mongolia of which 40% live below of the poverty line. Since 1996 the poverty of herding households has not decreased.

A more detailed survey examined the livelihood conditions of rural herding households by examining five types of household characteristics: Income, Assets (fixed and mobile), Socio-Economic Indicators and Perception of Threats.

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