Strains on the Plains: A World without Water

EarthzineDEVELOP Summer 2014 VPS, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session, Original

Project Team: Great Plains Agriculture Team
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Joseph Novak (Old Dominion University)

Drought Severity Index delineating the drought in the Great Plains. Image Credit: Great Plains Agriculture Team.

Drought Severity Index delineating the drought in the Great Plains. Image Credit: Great Plains Agriculture Team.

Ashley Garner (Old Dominion University)
Shani Kent Hall (Old Dominion University)
John Lingenfelser (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Megan Laurine (U.S. Air Force)

Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP, National Science Advisor)
Dr. Justin Derner (U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service Rangeland Resources Research Unit)

Past/Other Contributors:
Lance Watkins (Mississippi State University)
Jarrod Lessel (California State University, Fresno)
Alexandra Perillo (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)
Tiffani Orne (Liberty University)
Eric Dombrowsky (Christopher Newport University)
Emily Gotschalk (Christopher Newport University)
Cassandra Montoya (U.S. Air Force)

Drought in the Great Plains region of the United States is a matter of constant concern for ranchers and land managers in the region. Every rancher must respond to drought conditions and approximately 80 percent of them actively prepare for drought. Since 2011, the Great Plains region has been severely impacted by drought, including $400 million in losses in the state of Oklahoma. Drought conditions may make rangelands more susceptible to diseases, insect pests, weed invasions, and overgrazing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other organizations use sources, such as the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) and the U.S. Drought Monitor, to track drought severity. However, both of these sources have limitations since they measure drought on a large spatial scale. The Drought Severity Index (DSI), created in a previous DEVELOP term, utilizes data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor aboard the Aqua and Terra satellites and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Multisensor Precipitation Estimator (MPE). The purpose of this project was to validate the DSI against the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI), Palmers Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and in-situ data collected from several meteorological locations throughout the Great Plains region along with providing a sustainable methodology for calculating the DSI. The methods and results produced by this project were presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Rangeland Resources Research Unit (ARS RRRU) for future use throughout the region. The benefit of this project is a validation that the DSI model successfully monitors drought severity for the entire Great Plains region with a higher spatial resolution than VegDRI, PDSI and in-situ data.

Back to VPS page.