Developing an operational rangeland water requirement satisfaction index

International Journal of Remote Sensing
By: , and 

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Abstract

Developing an operational water requirement satisfaction index (WRSI) for rangeland monitoring is an important goal of the famine early warning systems network. An operational WRSI has been developed for crop monitoring, but until recently a comparable WRSI for rangeland was not successful because of the extremely poor performance of the index when based on published crop coefficients (K c) for rangelands. To improve the rangeland WRSI, we developed a simple calibration technique that adjusts the K c values for rangeland monitoring using long-term rainfall distribution and reference evapotranspiration data. The premise for adjusting the K c values is based on the assumption that a viable rangeland should exhibit above-average WRSI (values >80%) during a normal year. The normal year was represented by a median dekadal rainfall distribution (satellite rainfall estimate from 1996 to 2006). Similarly, a long-term average for potential evapotranspiration was used as input to the famine early warning systems network WRSI model in combination with soil-water-holding capacity data. A dekadal rangeland WRSI has been operational for east and west Africa since 2005. User feedback has been encouraging, especially with regard to the end-of-season WRSI anomaly products that compare the index's performance to ‘normal’ years. Currently, rangeland WRSI products are generated on a dekadal basis and posted for free distribution on the US Geological Survey early warning website at http://earlywarning.usgs.gov/adds/

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Developing an operational rangeland water requirement satisfaction index
Series title International Journal of Remote Sensing
DOI 10.1080/01431161.2010.516028
Volume 32
Issue 21
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 7 p.
First page 6047
Last page 6053