The MESA Drought Service is aimed at assisting relevant national institutions e.g. Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, in monitoring drought for informed decision-making in response to seasonal drought conditions. This service utilizes earth observations data to monitor and model drought conditions during the whole year and provides regular 10-day drought maps and monthly drought risk forecasts.
The Drought Service relies on the MESA Drought Monitoring Software. This application has been developed by the Agriculture Research Council (ARC) of South Africa. ARC is the MESA SADC THEMA Grant Co-Beneficiary, responsible for further development and consolidation of the Drought Monitoring system. The application provides users with the opportunity to select their own area of interest and then creating a wide range of drought information products based on various input data, mainly rainfall, vegetation and long range weather forecasts.
Drought monitoring software
The drought information products can typical be used as baseline information to facilitate planning of drought assessment tours. Products identify hot spot areas, which can easily be assessed relatively quickly and can help decision-makers prioritize drought relief by providing complete drought information coverage of a country or region, which in turn can be compared with socio-economic statistics and historical data to give a clearer picture of areas and groups affected by drought.
Examples of products: Left Vegetation anomaly map showing drought areas (circled). Right- drought risk map
The drought monitoring software and products are supported by a training package which has been developed to strengthen interpretation of the products and show users how to generate drought report information for policy makers.
Drought service training package
Key users of the service
The primary (Key-Users) for this service varies from country to country but would normally include:
- the National Meteorological Services
- various units of Ministries of Environment and Agriculture in SADC Member States
- the SADC Secretariat’s Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) directorate
Other stakeholders who can benefit from the Drought Service include District Councils, Ministries of transport, Police and Wildfire brigades, Weather services, the National Television, Civil-protection agencies, farming communities, Disaster Units and even Electricity Distributors.
|Drought Service Products|
|Vegetation Performance Maps||Frequency|
|1||DP01: NDVI difference||10 days|
|2||DP02: Long-term average NDVI||10 days|
|3||DP03: Long-term average cumulative NDVI||10 days|
|4||DP04: Long-term standard deviation of NDVI||10 days|
|5||DP05: Long-term maximum of NDVI||10 days|
|6||DP06: Long-term minimum of NDVI||10 days|
|7||DP07: VCI||10 days|
|8||DP08: SDVI||10 days|
|9||DP09: PASG||10 days|
|Rainfall maps and graphs|
|10||DP10: Total cumulative rainfall||10 days|
|11||DP11: Long-term average rainfall||10 days|
|12||DP12: Percentage of long-term average rainfall||10 days|
|13||DP13: Drought risk map (Boolean type)||1 month|
|14||DP14: Drought risk map (Graded type)||1 month|
|15||DP15: R Graphs – Percentage of LTA rainfall||10 days|
|16||DP16: Graphs – Cumulative NDVI||10 days|
|17||DP17: Rainfall Decile||1 month|
One of the key service outputs generated by the Drought service is the regional Drought bulletin
The drought service products are primarily
distributed automatically via EUMETCAST. The EUMETCAST system is a multi-service data dissemination system based on standard Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) technology, which is also used to distribute satellite television. It uses commercial telecommunication geostationary satellites to multicast files (data and products) to a wide user community. The MESA website (www.mesasadc.org) is used as a backup dissemination platform.
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