AIRS data and the U.S. Drought Monitor

Droughts are a 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.

As of AIRS processing version 7, AIRS Level 2 Vapor Pressure Deficit is a standard product in the AIRS product suite.

Science Papers

Farahmand, A., AghaKouchak, A., & Teixeira, J. (2015). A vantage from space can detect earlier drought onset: An approach using relative humidity. Scientific Reports, 5(1), 1-6.

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

Behrangi, A., Nguyen, H., & Granger, S. (2015). Probabilistic seasonal prediction of meteorological drought using the bootstrap and multivariate information. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 54(7), 1510-1522.

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

AIRS Drought Products for Authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor –
Training Materials for Best Practices

The AIRS drought products for the U.S. Drought Monitor have been customized in a format specifically for use in USDM development, and these products are uploaded weekly to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Materials have been prepared to provide guidance on best practices using the AIRS drought products for USDM development.

Slide Deck for AIRS Drought Products for USDM Best Practices

Recording from best practices training held 4/1/22

Recording Transcript

An article was published on the training workshop:

Farahmand, A., Ray, S., Thrastarson, H., Licata, S., Granger, S., & Fuchs, B. (2023). A Workshop on Using NASA AIRS Data to Monitor Drought for the US Drought Monitor. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 104(1), E22-E30.