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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A GOES Thermal-Based Drought Early Warning Index for NIDIS

item Anderson, Martha
item Mo, Kingtse
item Zhan, Xiwu
item Mecikalski, John
item Hain, Christopher

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2009
Publication Date: 7/29/2009
Citation: Anderson, M.C., Mo, K., Zhan, X., Mecikalski, J.R., Hain, C. 2009. A GOES thermal-based drought early warning index for NIDIS [abstract]. GOES-R Algorithm Working Group and Risk Reduction Review Meeting. 2009 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Because water lost to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration (ET) has the effect of cooling the Earth’s surface, land-surface temperature, as mapped using thermal-infrared (TIR) band satellite data, is a valuable remote indicator of both ET and the surface moisture status. Using TIR imagery from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES), along with a GOES-based hourly insolation product, a fully automated inverse model of Atmosphere-Land Exchange (ALEXI) has been used to model surface moisture stress over the continental United States. Monthly anomalies in an ALEXI-derived Evaporative Stress Index (ESI), given by 1-ET/PET where PET is potential ET, show good correspondence with standard drought metrics and with patterns of antecedent precipitation, but at significantly higher spatial resolution due to limited reliance on ground observations. The TIR inputs detect drought conditions even under dense forest cover, where microwave soil moisture retrievals typically lose sensitivity. Through a grant from the NOAA Climate Dynamics and Experimental Prediction program beginning in FY10, a suite of ALEXI drought products will be developed on a 1/8o grid over the contiguous U.S. (CONUS), Canada, and Mexico, with the intent of transition to operations within NESDIS/NCEP by the end of the project. These products will be disseminated to the North American drought community through the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) web portal. Work is also underway to port the ALEXI ESI system to Meteosat LandSAF products for applications over Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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