In July this year, farmers in the U.S. Midwest and plains regions watched crops wilt and die after a stretch of unusually low precipitation and high temperatures.
Before a lack of rain and record-breaking heat signalled a problem, however, scientists observed another indication of drought in data from NASA and NOAA satellites: plant stress.
Scientists with the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have developed a way to use satellite data to map that plant stress, according to a USDA statement.
The maps could soon aid in drought forecasts, and prove useful for applications such as crop yield estimates or decisions about crop loss compensation.
Drought in 2012 was the most severe and extensive in at least 25 years.IANS