A multi-institutional partnership, the US Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) provides routine monitoring of climatic, agricultural, market, and socioeconomic conditions in over 20 countries. FEWS NET supports and informs disaster relief decisions that impact millions of people and involve billions of dollars. In this chapter, we focus on some of FEWS NET’s hydrologic monitoring tools, with a specific emphasis on combining “low frequency” and “high frequency” assessment tools. Low frequency assessment tools, tied to water and food balance estimates, enable us to evaluate and map long-term tendencies in food security. High frequency assessments are supported by agrohydrologic models driven by satellite rainfall estimates, such as the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index (WRSI). Focusing on eastern Africa, we suggest that both these high and low frequency approaches are necessary to capture the interaction of slow variations in vulnerability and the relatively rapid onset of climatic shocks.
Additional Publication Details
Real-time decision support systems: the famine early warning system network
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center