Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #432683

Research Project: Development of a Global Evaporative Stress Index Based on Thermal and Microwave... Monitoring of Agricultural Water and Vegetation Stress

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-029-018-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Apr 5, 2017
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

The overall objective of the proposal is to extend operational production of a satellite-based Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) for drought monitoring to global coverage, and to evaluate ESI performance over the period 2000-current in capturing major drought patterns, early onset of crop stress and moisture limitations on crop yields globally. Over the course of the project, investigators will work with stakeholders at USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, GeoGLAM (GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring) program, as well as international partners to transition the new global ESI products into routine monitoring, decision making and analyses regarding drought impacts on food and water security.

Prototype global ESI products developed by the project PI at NOAA will be evaluated by ARS Co-Is over regions/countries with available yield and drought impact data. The new global products will include several enhancements over current products produced by NOAA over North America including mitigation for persistent cloud cover over the Tropics and production of a suite of Rapid Change Indices for detecting rapid onset of crop stress conditions. USDA will investigate relative timing and strength of drought/pluvial conditions expressed in global ESI in comparison with standard global drought indicators, building on case study investigations conducted over the U.S. USDA will also work with international collaborators (e.g., in Brazil, Czech Republic, Lebanon) to assess ESI capacity to predict yield anomalies, both as an independent indicator and in combination with other indicators within a simple crop modeling framework. In particular, focus will be placed on quantifying ESI early drought detection capabilities in comparison with standard indicators, building on evidence from recent US flash drought events that ESI captures early signals of developing crop stress expressed through elevated remotely sensed canopy and soil temperatures.