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Improving Desert Locust Decision Support in Africa and Asia Using SMAP Soil Moisture Estimates

Bolten, John D.; Brown, Molly; Ceccato, Pietro N.

In the desert areas from northern Africa to East Asia, occasional rainfall in hyper-arid environments results in the development of vegetation that harbor destructive swarms of Desert Locusts (DL). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed a Decision Support System (DSS) for monitoring Desert Locust events based on remotely sensed precipitation and vegetation estimates. However, the precipitation data applied by the FAO DSS have been shown to have a low probability of detection in this area leading to high uncertainty in their DL forecasts. We demonstrate the correspondence of AMSR-E soil moisture anomalies with observed Desert Locust events in north Africa and southwest Asia. This relationship enables an improvement to the existing FAO DL Decision Support System through the addition of expected SMAP products which will provide similar soil moisture products to AMSR-E, but at higher spatial resolution. The SMAP rootzone soil moisture product (L4_SM) will be particularly useful in this regard.

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International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
June 22, 2010

Notes

Presented at the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Applications Workshop, Silver Spring, Md., September 9-10, 2009.