Service Objective

The MESA Drought Service is aimed at assisting relevant national institutions e.g. Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, in monitoring drought for informed decision-making in response to seasonal drought conditions. This service utilizes earth observations data  to monitor and model drought conditions during the whole year and provides  regular 10-day drought maps and monthly drought risk forecasts.

Service Description

The Drought Service relies on the MESA Drought Monitoring Software. This application has been developed by the Agriculture Research Council (ARC) of South Africa. ARC is the MESA SADC THEMA Grant Co-Beneficiary, responsible for further development and consolidation of the Drought Monitoring system. The application provides users with the opportunity to select their own area of interest and then creating a wide range of drought information products based on various input data, mainly rainfall, vegetation and long range weather forecasts.

Drought monitoring software

Drought monitoring software

The drought information products can typical be used as baseline information to facilitate planning of drought assessment tours.  Products identify hot spot areas, which can easily be assessed relatively quickly  and can help decision-makers prioritize drought relief by providing complete drought information coverage of a country or region, which in turn can be compared with socio-economic statistics and historical data to give a clearer picture of areas and groups affected by drought.

Examples of products: Left Vegetation anomaly map showing drought areas (circled). Right- drought risk map

The drought monitoring software and products are supported by a training package which has been developed to strengthen interpretation of the products and show users how to generate drought report information for policy makers.

Drought service training package

Drought service training package

Key users of the service

The primary (Key-Users) for this service varies from country to country but would normally include:

  • the National Meteorological Services
  • various units of Ministries of Environment and Agriculture in SADC Member States
  • the SADC Secretariat’s Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) directorate

Other stakeholders who can benefit from the Drought Service include District Councils, Ministries of transport, Police and Wildfire brigades, Weather services, the National Television, Civil-protection agencies, farming communities, Disaster Units and even Electricity Distributors.

Product catalogue

Drought Service Products    
Vegetation Performance Maps Frequency  
1 DP01: NDVI difference 10 days
2 DP02: Long-term average NDVI 10 days
3 DP03: Long-term average cumulative NDVI 10 days
4 DP04: Long-term standard deviation of NDVI 10 days
5 DP05: Long-term maximum of NDVI 10 days
6 DP06: Long-term minimum of NDVI 10 days
7 DP07: VCI 10 days
8 DP08: SDVI 10 days
9 DP09: PASG 10 days
Rainfall maps and graphs    
10 DP10: Total cumulative rainfall 10 days
11 DP11: Long-term average rainfall 10 days
12 DP12: Percentage of long-term average rainfall 10 days
13 DP13: Drought risk map (Boolean type) 1 month
14 DP14: Drought risk map (Graded type) 1 month
15 DP15: R Graphs –  Percentage of LTA rainfall 10 days
16 DP16: Graphs – Cumulative NDVI 10 days
17 DP17: Rainfall Decile 1 month

Regional Drought bulletin

One of the key service outputs generated by the Drought service is the regional Drought bulletin

The drought service products are primarily 

distributed automatically via EUMETCAST. The EUMETCAST system is a multi-service data dissemination system based on standard Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) technology, which is also used to distribute satellite television. It uses commercial telecommunication geostationary satellites to multicast files (data and products) to a wide user community. The MESA website (www.mesasadc.org) is used as a backup dissemination platform.

For more information:

Email: info@mesasadc.org
Tel: +2673612205

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