An Updated Decision Support Interface: A Tool for Remote Monitoring of Crop Growing Conditions

Monday, 15 December 2014
Gregory J Husak1, Michael E Budde2, James Rowland2, James P Verdin3, Chris C Funk1,4 and Martin F Landsfeld1, (1)University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, (2)U.S. Geological Survey, Sioux Falls, SD, United States, (3)USGS/EROS, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)USGS, Sioux Falls, SD, United States
Remote sensing of agroclimatological variables to monitor food production conditions is a critical component of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network portfolio of tools for assessing food security in the developing world. The Decision Support Interface (DSI) seeks to integrate a number of remotely sensed and modeled variables to create a single, simplified portal for analysis of crop growing conditions. The DSI has been reformulated to incorporate more variables and give the user more freedom in exploring the available data. This refinement seeks to transition the DSI from a “first glance” agroclimatic indicator to one better suited for the differentiation of drought events.

The DSI performs analysis of variables over primary agricultural zones at the first sub-national administrative level. It uses the spatially averaged rainfall, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), water requirement satisfaction index (WRSI), and actual evapotranspiration (ETa) to identify potential hazards to food security. Presenting this information in a web-based client gives food security analysts and decision makers a lightweight portal for information on crop growing conditions in the region.

The crop zones used for the aggregation contain timing information which is critical to the DSI presentation. Rainfall and ETa are accumulated from different points in the crop phenology to identify season-long deficits in rainfall or transpiration that adversely affect the crop-growing conditions. Furthermore, the NDVI and WRSI serve as their own seasonal accumulated measures of growing conditions by capturing vegetation vigor or actual evapotranspiration deficits.

The DSI is currently active for major growing regions of sub-Saharan Africa, with intention of expanding to other areas over the coming years.