Early-warning and drought risk reduction



Press Release: Satellite based early-warning system to bolster drought risk reduction

Experts meet in Delhi to discuss how South Asian countries could adopt the new drought monitoring system to better prepare and mitigate drought risks

(Delhi, January 30):  The South Asia Drought Monitoring System (SADMS) and its newly launched online portal was demonstrated at a regional workshop held in New Delhi today. The SADMS expected to provide near-real information of drought onset and progression helping decision makers respond in time. The interactive SADMS online portal, http://dms.iwmi.org/, would help in data sharing and viewing of all available drought and related maps for the entire region instantly.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General of ICAR, Government of India said, “South Asia routinely suffers from drought and severe impact on agriculture production and livelihoods.  Early warning and monitoring system are important but at the same time need to be robust as climatic variation is huge and location specific. If water is going to be more limited in the future and droughts more frequent, a drought monitoring system would be even more relevant going forward.”

30 percent of India’s agricultural land is turning into desert


Photo credit: ASM

Satellite mapping is helping to monitor and raise awareness of India’s rapid loss of agricultural land. (Credit: University of Omaha)

Satellites Observe India Desertification at Alarming Rate

A new analysis of satellite images shows that nearly 30 percent of India’s agricultural land is turning into desert, and the rate of soil degradation is increasing at an alarming rate. The report by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) says that land degradation now affects 96 million hectares (237 million acres), or 30 percent of India’s agricultural lands.

Read the full story: ASM

Satellite data to measure and monitor land degradation


UNCCD CST S-4 Side Event Discusses Use of Satellite Data

A side event organized by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (GEF/STAP) during the fourth special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-4) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) considered ‘The use of satellite data to measure and monitor land degradation over time at multiple scales.’

Participants at the side event were informed of a new GEF project that will seek to provide guidance, methods and tools to monitor and assess land degradation using remote sensing, and they were encouraged to address the needs of users of remote sensing. Speakers noted challenges in harmonizing and interpreting data from different remote sensing products and how the data could be used to develop policy advice, among other topics.

Read the full text: IISD

Appropriate indicators of land-cover modifications

Photo credit: Pixabay

Monitoring land-cover changes in semi-arid regions: remote sensing data and field observations in the Ferlo, Senegal

by A. Diouf and E.F. Lambin


Dryland degradation rarely translates into linear, declining trends in vegetation cover due to interannual climatic variability. Appropriate indicators of land-cover modifications need to be defined for semi-arid regions.

Our hypothesis is that degradation can be measured by:

  • (1) a decrease in the resilience of vegetation to droughts;
  • (2) a decrease in rain-use efficiency; and
  • (3) a modification of floristic composition.

The objective of this paper is to test the relationships between a remotely sensed indicator of vegetation, rainfall data and field measurements of biomass and floristic composition.

The study was based on field measurements of vegetation conditions covering a period of 10 years, in the semi-arid region of the Ferlo in Senegal.

Our results indicate that land-cover modifications in the Ferlo are best measured by changes in rain-use efficiency. No consistent trend in the relative abundance of grass species was visible at the scale of the decade, even on the two sites affected by degradation. Just after a drought, a given increase in rainfall results in less biomass production than is the case for normal years.

Read the full article: Science Direct

Desertification and Coral Reef Mapping Projects in Morocco and Kuwait (Google

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification


The Use of Pleiades and TerraSARX Imagery in Desertification and Coral Reef Mapping Projects in Morocco and Kuwait


The research reported in this poster relates to two doctoral research projects currently being undertaken at the University of South Australia. Project A (Alsharrah, Bouabid and Bruce) is focused on the use of high spatial resolution remote sensing to improve vegetation inputs to models for desertification and utilizes Pleiades, TerraSAR X, Rapideye, ASTER and Landsat imagery over an arid site on the slopes of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Project B (Gholoum, Alhazeem, Anderson and Bruce) concentrates on the use of high spatial resolution remote sensing to improve estimates of coral reef density for the Kubar coral reef system in Kuwaiti waters in the Arabian / Persian Gulf. In pr

oject B WorldView 2 (Multi-Spectral (MS)and Panchromatic (Pan)) imagery are being analyzedtogether with Pleiades-1B and Landsat imagery, and compared with quality field data to assess the accuracy of processing methods


How forest fires scar the land and rivers give it new life (Google / Daily Mail)

Read at : Google Alerts – images of the Africa Drought


The beauty of the Earth from space: Incredible Nasa animation shows how forest fires scar the land and rivers give it new life

  • Nasa collected the data using satellites and infra-red imaging technology that orbits 512 miles above the Earth
  • A computer program was used to find cloudless areas so the image wasn’t obscured
  • The data will be used to help with environmental monitoring, predicting global changes in the weather and tracking the damage caused by drought

By Victoria Woollaston

A year’s worth of changes to vegetation across the world have been plotted during a fascinating animation by Nasa.

The space agency spent a year collecting satellite images using its Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership technology and the photos provide a vivid, at-a-glance depiction of the Earth’s natural landscape.

They highlight the stark contrast between the plush green lands of Europe next to the dry, arid regions of Africa. The images also show how forest fires can physically scar the landscape in places such as Australia and how rivers, in dry areas such as Egypt, can replenish the land and provide a life source for its inhabitants.

Scroll down for animation

The greener side of earth (Google / The Inquisitr)

Read at : Google Amlerts – images of the Africa Drought


Satellite Vegetation Images Prove Earth Still Green — For Now [Video]

Vegetation satellite images and video were released by NASA and NOAA last week to reveal the greener side of earth. The beautiful green images were created from a year’s worth of satellite data collected by a Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite.

Check out the video for a time-release look at a whole year’s worth of contrast between green and dry regions of our still-thriving planet.

Satellite images to track just how fecund the planet is and to spot trouble regions (Google / io9

Read at : Google Alerts – images of the Africa drought


These satellite images could be used to predict the next drought

This is a new kind of satellite image of the Earth, showing nothing but vegetation. It allows us to track just how fecund the planet is — and to spot trouble regions where crop growth may soon be hindered by drought. Soon, images like these could become a crucial part of food security.

his complete picture of the planet’s plant life is product of a year’s worth of images collected from Earth’s orbit between April 2012 and April 2013. Up top is a close-up of the Western Hemisphere. Here’s a view of our planet from the other side:


ICTs to help poor rural people cope with the impact of water scarcity, desertification and drought (Google / IFAD)

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification


World Day to Combat Desertification: Harnessing technology to cope with drought and water scarcity

Contrary to a common misconception, the term ‘desertification’ does not refer to advancing deserts, though it can involve the encroachment of sand dunes on arable land. Rather, desertification is the persistent degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas known as drylands. Over time, such degradation creates desert-like conditions.

Desertification can result from overgrazing, over-cultivation, deforestation and poorly planned irrigation systems. Climate change exacerbates the problem, as frequent droughts, floods and other extreme weather events accelerate land degradation, exhausting the soil’s capacity to support agriculture. As a result, desertification annually depletes about 12 million hectares of cultivable land, enough to grow 20 million tonnes of grain.

For a billion people around the world who live in dryland regions, halting that trend is an urgent priority – a priority that is in the spotlight on 17 June, World Day to Combat Desertification, an annual United Nations observance. This year, the day is dedicated to raising awareness and taking action on the increasing scarcity of freshwater required to sustain crops and livestock, and ensure food security in drylands.

Effective action

Because desertification threatens food security, IFAD invests substantial resources in support of drylands agriculture. At the same time, IFAD and its partners are harnessing information and communications technologies, or ICTs, to help poor rural people cope with the impact of water scarcity, desertification and drought.

These cutting-edge technologies – most notably, satellite imaging – are being used to implement the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). They have the potential to facilitate more effective action on the problem by providing reliable data about weather conditions and crop yields in regions at risk.

Miniature satellite to map global vegetation (SEMIDE / EMWIS)

Read at :


The French Spot satellites have been charting the world’s vegetation since 1998. This important task soon falls to ESA’s Proba-V, which, despite being only a little larger than a washing machine, will provide sharp views of Earth’s plant life every two days. Keeping a close check on the health of vegetation is not only essential for monitoring environmental change, but also for numerous practical applications – importantly, those related to agriculture and food security.

Over the past 10 years, more than 8000 registered users around the world have relied on data from the Vegetation instruments on Spot-4 and Spot-5. Since the sensor on Spot-4 stopped supplying data last year and Spot-5 is expected to come to an end in the middle of 2014, the upcoming Proba-V mission has been designed to continue the supply of this much-needed imagery.

Furthermore, after the loss of Envisat and its MERIS camera, Proba-V will help to bridge the gap until the launch of the Sentinel-3 mission, which carries the Ocean Land Colour Instrument to follow on the 10-year time series of MERIS data.

The V in Proba-V also stands for Vegetation, but the design is somewhat different to Spot’s – it is much smaller. The whole satellite is less than one cubic metre, with the sensor being a cleverly miniaturised version of Spot-5’s full-size camera.


Desertification : shrinking Lake Chad (Google / Earth Snapshot)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification


Desertification by Shrinking Lake Chad

Lake Chad is located in the Sahel, a vast savanna bordered by the rain forests of the west coast of Africa on one side and the Sahara desert to the north. Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon are neighboring countries. Once one of Africa’s largest freshwater lakes, it has shrunk dramatically in the last 40 years. In 1963, the lake covered about 9,700 square miles (25,000 square kilometers); in 2001, it was only one-twentieth of that size.

Researchers have concluded that human activities are to blame for the shrinking of the lake.


Vegetation cover in African drought region (Google / EUMETSAT)

Read at : Google Alert – images of the Africa Drought


Meteosat monitors vegetation cover in African drought region

Data from the Land Surface Analysis Satellite Application Facility (LSA SAF) archive, based on Meteosat Second Generation, are tracing the evolution of the fraction of vegetation cover (FVC) in the Horn of Africa continuously.



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