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14 Aug 2020 | SERVIR-HKH

Regional Drought Monitoring Outlook System for South Asia launched

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Near-real time monitoring of droughts through reliable indicators

At home in the Far Eastern Himalaya

Droughts have profound cascading impacts that lead to water scarcity, agricultural loss, and famine. In recent decades, the frequency and intensity of droughts have increased significantly. Near-real time monitoring of droughts and early warning are therefore critical for food and water security in the HKH region.

ICIMOD’s Regional Drought Monitoring and Outlook System (RDMOS) for South Asia, unveiled in 2019, produces reliable drought indicators for the region with a specific focus on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. The system incorporates climatic models with suitable Earth observation data and land surface models to produce drought indices – precipitation, temperature, soil moisture, and evapotranspiration – and vegetation conditions at 10-day intervals for near real-time monitoring of droughts. The RDMOS is the culmination of a multiyear collaboration among research institutions from the region and beyond.

We have been collaborating on the co-design, joint capacity building, and field data collection concerning the RDMOS for Bangladesh with the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Similarly, national partners in Nepal and Pakistan are involved in joint validation, co-development, and capacity-building efforts.

The system incorporates climatic models with suitable Earth observation data and land surface models to produce drought indices and vegetation conditions at 10-day intervals.

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