For three years south eastern and eastern Brazil has been experiencing one of its worst droughts in a century and satellite images captured by Landsat-8 in the first months of 2015 do not bring any hope.
Early detection of droughts is important for managing emerging crop losses to prevent or mitigate possible related famines, and for dealing with increased fire risk. Satellite imagery helps to monitor precipitation, soil moisture, and vegetation health to support drought early warning systems. It is used to feed monthly drought bulletins and to issue warnings. Near-real-time data related to drought are available free of charge via several regional and global platforms.
Land cover information is important for many applications like flood modeling, observation of agricultural drought, climate change modeling, and monitoring of environmental changes including vegetation phenology, flooding, fire occurrence, and monitoring of carbon emission due to deforestation and forest degradation.
Soil moisture data can be used for drought prediction and to improve flood forecasts. Data sets derived from satellite sensors are freely available in near real time. The image archives on soil moisture go back to the late 1970s.
The United States has announced that it will make high-resolution topographic data available globally in 2015. Previously, the data generated from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) in 2000 was only available in the US.
Continuing progress in studies and advancing in the area of drought monitoring in agricultural areas, the Remote Sensing Group of the Center for Research and Development in Geographic Information of IGAC (CIAF) in Colombia, has been analyzing time series of the Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index (NDVI) based on MODIS data obtained by NASA's Terra