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Famine early warning in Africa presents unique challenges and rewards. Hydrologic extremes must be tracked and anticipated over complex and changing climate regimes. The successful anticipation and interpretation of hydrologic shocks can initiate effective government response, saving lives and softening the impacts of droughts and floods. While both monitoring and forecast technologies continue to advance, discontinuities between monitoring and forecast systems inhibit effective decision making. Monitoring systems typically rely on high resolution satellite remote-sensed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and rainfall imagery. Forecast systems provide information on a variety of scales and formats. Non-meteorologists are often unable or unwilling to connect the dots between these disparate sources of information. To mitigate these problem researchers at UCSB's Climate Hazard Group, NASA GIMMS and USGS/EROS are implementing a NASA-funded integrated decision support system that combines the monitoring of precipitation and NDVI with statistical one-to-three month forecasts. We present the monitoring/forecast system, assess its accuracy, and demonstrate its application in food insecure sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Publication Details
Integrating observation and statistical forecasts over sub-Saharan Africa to support Famine Early Warning