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Role of Drought Monitoring and Forecast

In all cases, it is important to improve spatial and temporal information about the current state of the drought and forecast likely development of the given drought event. Especially in the case of agriculture, the existence of early and mid-term seasonal forecasts is crucial in order for this sector to adopt appropriate management strategies to minimize the impacts of drought. The application of information that can be provided by early warning systems, including long-term forecasts, can also be useful for many other sectors (e.g., energy, transportation, forestry, and tourism and recreation) that are discussed in other chapters of this book. For this reason, a specialized portal (http://www.drought.cz) has been created. It summarizes the current status of drought using:

  • • A combination of ground observations and high-resolution soil moisture modeling that provides daily information on the drought levels at 500 x 500 m resolution (Figure 22.8a)
  • • Remotely sensed vegetation status data (250 m resolution) that can be used to assess soil moisture deficit impact on field crops, permanent or perennial cultures (vineyards and orchards), and forests (Figure 22.8b) as well as soil moisture estimated throughout microwave radar that provides an additional method of soil moisture status assessment
  • • Near-real-time drought impact reporting by a network of farmers that report on the soil moisture content but in particular based on observed drought impacts at the farm level for a given week (Figure 22.8c)

At the present time, close to 300 respondents are actively participating in providing information on the drought status and drought impacts at their farms and forests, with more than 120 of these respondents reporting each week. There is currently an effort to increase the number of

FIGURE 22.8

(a) Soil moisture content based intensity of drought for September 19, 2016; (b) corresponding map of vegetation status on October 1 based on enhanced vegetation index anomaly from 2000-2015 values (Terra-MODIS satellite); and (c) estimated impacts of drought on the main crops and soil moisture content as provided by farmers for week of September 19 (a map is published with a 1-week lag). (Continued)

(Continued)

FIGURE 22.8 (Continued)

(a) Soil moisture content based intensity of drought for September 19, 2016; (b) corresponding map of vegetation status on October 1 based on enhanced vegetation index anomaly from 2000 to 2015 values (Terra-MODIS satellite); and (c) estimated impacts of drought on the main crops and soil moisture content as provided by farmers for week of September 19 (a map is published with a 1-week lag).

regularly reporting respondents to more than 250 to achieve proper spatial representation. However, for efficient management of water resources during drought events, the drought status information needs to be supplemented by drought forecasts. This is being done with an ensemble of five numerical weather prediction models for up to 10 days (Figure 22.9a) and a probabilistic forecast up to 2 months (Figure 22.9b). This information is available to all users on a daily basis, free of charge, and is highly valued by users. This system was used by 45,411 users in 2016, with more than 250,000 page views, which represents more than double the number of users in the very dry year of 2015 (20,614 users with 130,021 page views). It also confirms the high interest of users in drought forecasting products.

 
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