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A new tool for managing agricultural risk

Tuesday 7 March 2017, 14.00-15.00
SEE Seminar Rooms 8.119
Dr Emily Black, University of Reading
ICAS External Seminar


Farmers in Africa are highly vulnerable to variability in the weather – especially to drought. Robust and timely information on drought risk can enable farmers to take action to increase yields. Monitoring weather conditions is, however, difficult in Africa because of the heterogeneity of the climate, and the sparsity of the ground-observing network. Remotely sensed data (for example satellite-based rainfall estimates) are an alternative to ground observations – but only if the algorithms have skill and the data are presented in a useful form. A more fundamental issue is that the condition of the land surface is affected by factors other than rainfall. The evolving risk of agricultural drought is thus determined by the properties of the land surface, the contemporaneous soil moisture and the risk of rainfall deficits.

We present a prototype agricultural decision support framework, TAMSAT-ALERT, which derives agricultural risk assessments from on meteorological observations and forecasts, combined with information about the historical climatology and the properties of the land surface.

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