Terra Daily: A NASA researcher has developed a new method to anticipate food shortages brought on by drought. Molly Brown of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Brown's new approach could improve the ability for government and humanitarian aid officials to plan and respond to drought-induced food price increases in
…Brown, the lead author of a study to be published early next year in the
"With this new study, for the first time we can leverage satellite observations of crop production to create a more accurate price model that will help humanitarian aid organizations and other decision makers predict how much food will be available and what its cost will be as a result. This is a unique opportunity for an economic model to take climate variables into account in a way that can aid populations large and small," she said.
…Brown used long-term data from sensors on NASA-built satellites to gauge the density of local plant life, an indicator of the strength of the crop. From space, sensors pick up reflections from the ground to determine the ground's "greenness" and enable researchers to estimate the amount of rainfall.
…Brown believes that information provided by this new technique can aid organizations that are part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning System to stem suffering that occurs every year from food crises. …
"This price model can be used in any region of the world where there are seasonal climate factors that can contribute to local food production crises," said Brown.