Global arid and semiarid regions depending on irrigated agriculture are highly susceptible to drought due to rainfall variability, leading to large economic losses. Planetary Skin Institute, in partnership with Arizona State University and NASA Ames Research Center, is developing new capabilities to conduct global drought monitoring using satellite detection of water stress and hydrologic models applied at regional scales. These products could serve as the backbone of national drought monitoring in many developing countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, to improve the detection, awareness and decision-making capabilities with respect to drought, in combination with ground sensors. These advances can yield significant cost savings through reduce risks across several water demand sectors including food production and security, hydropower generation, and natural ecosystem services.
Drought ALERTS conceptDrought ALERTS (Automated Land change Evaluation, Reporting and Tracking System) is in development as an online cloud-based platform for near real-time global detection of water stress at multiple resolutions. It will be available as a global public good to members of the public at www.ourplanetaryskin.org. Targeted at national water managers, irrigation districts, policymakers and scientific communities, Drought ALERTS will provide timely detection of drought events on a global basis with a high degree of accuracy.