The International Research Institute for Climate and Society just posted the second interview in its series about the East Africa drought. Remote sensing guru Pietro Ceccato discusses the importance of using data and images from satellites to monitor conditions in the region, especially in areas where ground-level information is poor or nonexistent.
..in countries like Somalia, the field measurements are [scarce] and we don’t have a large picture of where there are problems of drought…satellites allow us at high spatial resolution–we can monitor vegetation at 250-meter resolution— to pinpoint exactly which region is under stress of drought. Using satellites from NASA, we’ve seen that since November 2010 there’s been a huge deficit in vegetation in Somalia..
In the first interview of the series, climate scientist Brad Lyon gave an overview of the climate conditions leading up to the 2010-11 drought. He said a chance of La Niña forming later in the year could have devastating consequences for a region already plagued by widespread famine.