from the its-biblical-man dept.
ESA has an interesting story on how satellite imagery data is used in predicting desert locust plagues.
Satellites are helping to predict favourable conditions for desert locusts to swarm, which poses a threat to agricultural production and, subsequently, livelihoods and food security.
Desert locusts are a type of grasshopper found primarily in the Sahara, across the Arabian Peninsula and into India. The insect is usually harmless, but when they swarm they can migrate across long distances and cause widespread crop damage.
During the 2003–05 plague in West Africa, more than eight million people were affected. Up to 100% losses were reported on cereals, 90% on legumes and 85% on pasture. It took nearly $600 million and 13 million litres of pesticide to bring the plague under control.
[...] "I use the data products to understand the current situation, as well as the evolution of locust outbreaks," said Ahmed Salem Benahi, Chief Information Officer for Mauritania's National Centre for Locust Control.
"We now have the possibility to see the risk of a locust outbreak one to two months in advance, which helps us to better establish preventive control."
The dataset is a combination of measurements from ESA's SMOS and NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites.