Monitoring Agricultural Drought

Although droughts reduce agricultural production significantly in Latin America, only limited attempts have been made to monitor or mitigate them (Brunini et al., 2000). One of the institutions that is directly involved

Table 12.1 Production losses due to climate anomalies including droughts that occurred in Brazil during 1978-85 (Mota, 1987) and 1991-94 (Rossetti, 2001)

Percentage of loss 1978-85 1991-94

Crop Entire Brazil Entire Brazil Northeastern Brazil

Corn 23 41 71

Rice 37 47

Beans 32 41

Average 26 33 53

in drought monitoring is FUNCEME (Fundagao Cearense de Meteorologia, Ceara State Meteorological Foundation), in northeastern Brazil. The FUNCEME carries out research on monitoring and conducting a hydro-meteorological surveillance in the northeast Brazil; however, no specific indices are used to monitor droughts. Recently, the Agronomic Institute in Sao Paulo state has begun a weekly drought monitoring evaluation by considering both agricultural and hydrological aspects. Such an evaluation will contribute to the development of public policy for drought mitigation and natural disaster preparedness.

Precipitation Anomaly from Potential Evapotranspiration

The anomaly of annual precipitation (P) from potential evapotranspiration (PET), is shown for some locations in Brazil, Argentina, Chile,

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