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Evaluating the Use of Remote Sensing Data in the USAID Famine Early Warning Systems NetworkThe US Agency for International Development (USAID) s Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) provides monitoring and early warning support to decision makers responsible for responding to food insecurity emergencies on three continents. FEWS NET uses satellite remote sensing and ground observations of rainfall and vegetation in order to provide information on drought, floods and other extreme weather events to decision makers. Previous research has presented results from a professional review questionnaire with FEWS NET expert end-users whose focus was to elicit Earth observation requirements. The review provided FEWS NET operational requirements and assessed the usefulness of additional remote sensing data. Here we analyzed 1342 food security update reports from FEWS NET. The reports consider the biophysical, socioeconomic, and contextual influences on the food security in 17 countries in Africa from 2000-2009. The objective was to evaluate the use of remote sensing information in comparison with other important factors in the evaluation of food security crises. The results show that all 17 countries use rainfall information, agricultural production statistics, food prices and food access parameters in their analysis of food security problems. The reports display large scale patterns that are strongly related to history of the FEWS NET program in each country. We found that rainfall data was used 84% of the time, remote sensing of vegetation 28% of the time, and gridded crop models 10%, reflecting the length of use of each product in the regions. More investment is needed in training personnel on remote sensing products to improve use of data products throughout the FEWS NET system.
Document ID
20110015346
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Authors
Brown, Molly E. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Brickley, Elizabeth B. (Cambridge Univ. Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2011
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
GSFC.JA.4956.2011
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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