12.5 Multi-Year Strongest California Drought from 500-m SNPP/VIIRS

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 4:45 PM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Felix Kogan, NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, MD

Starting in 2006, the western United States was affected by a 10-year mega-drought. Among 17 western states, California was the most severely drought-affected, most pronounced in 2012-2015, when the area of stronger than moderate vegetation stress reached 70%. This drought had considerable impacts on California’s environment, economy and society. Currently, drought in the USA is monitored by the US Drought Monitor (USDM), which estimates drought area and intensity on an area with an effective resolution of around 30-by-30 km. California produces more than 90% of US fruits, vegetables, berries and nuts, which are grown on relatively small areas (200-500 acres, or 0.5 to 2 km²). Since most of these crops are irrigated, it is important to estimate crop conditions on the area comparable to the size of the planted crop. This paper demonstrates how the new 0.5-by-0.5 km Vegetation health (VH) technology (VH-500) developed from the data collected by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite launched in 2011, monitors the current mega-drought in California, distinguishing drought-affected area with and without irrigation and estimating drought start/end, intensity, duration and impacts.

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