AIRS data and the U.S. Drought Monitor

Droughts are devastating natural phenomena which result in significant economic and agricultural losses. Drought was “among the costliest perils around the world in 2018” with a combined damage cost of more than USD27 billion and most losses incurred in the agricultural sector (Weather, Climate, and Catastrophe Insight - 2018 Report). Early drought detection is of great importance and high value for agriculture and water resources management.

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a weekly map of drought conditions used by policymakers to help determine drought relief allocations and declarations of drought. AIRS vapor pressure deficit and standardized relative humidity products have the capacity to detect meteorological drought up to three months earlier than other drought indicators (Farahmand et al. 2015, Behrangi et al. 2016). These products along with AIRS surface air temperature are now part of the regular suite of indicators used in the generation of the USDM.

Work is in progress to include AIRS Level 2 Vapor Pressure Deficit as a standard product in the AIRS product suite.


Science Papers:

Farahmand, A. and AghaKouchak, A., 2015. A generalized framework for deriving nonparametric standardized drought indicators. Advances in Water Resources, 76, pp.140-145.

Behrangi, A., E. J. Fetzer, and S. L. Granger (2016), Early detection of drought onset using near surface temperature and humidity observed from space, Int.J.Remote Sens., 37(16), 3911-3923.