Conclusions

Soil moisture maps, an improved index of drought and inputs to GCMs, are possible through the use of passive microwave remote sensing of soil moisture. These products could provide information useful for drought monitoring and prediction. Because drought indices and GCMs do not consider actual soil moisture conditions, this approach could have great value for agriculture. Results could improve the accuracy, timing, and reliability of the indices and predictions. Global soil moisture data will be a reality as new and improved satellite sensor systems are implemented. It is also possible that these products could be integrated with vegetation index data and existing drought indices to develop improved methods for monitoring and predicting drought.

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