The SSRL Research Discussion/Luncheon series continues! We are celebrating the spirit of academic research this fall by promoting and sharing the research work of our fellows, staff, and visiting scholars. The second presentation for this semester is Dr. Molly Brown, Research Scientist from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

“Droughts and Decision making in Famine Early Warning Systems: The Role of Earth Science Data”

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), works to strengthen the abilities of countries and regional organizations to improve food security through the provision of timely and analytical early warning and vulnerability information.

This talk will describe the different types of remote sensing imagery that FEWS NET uses and the methodologies it employs to transform the data into information to inform decisions regarding food aid and other humanitarian responses.  A description of the products that are used by FEWS NET scientists to monitor food production inAfricawill be presented, along with graphics and explanations as to how the products are used to inform decision-making.

Dr. Brown will present research that provides evidence on the use of data of rainfall information, agricultural production, food prices and food access parameters by FEWS NET analysts. There are significant differences in the use of remote sensing and other technical information between East, West and Southern African country analysts, with satellite remote sensing of vegetation being used 28% of the time, rainfall imagery 84% and gridded crop models only 10% of the time.

The talk continues with a description of how econometric models can improve understanding of how changes in local production can affect access to food through market prices.   Finally, a few case studies will be given that illustrate how the remote sensing is used to provide early warning of food insecurity that is both policy relevant and specific enough to motivate response by humanitarian organizations.

We look forward to seeing you at the event! Please RSVP to the email address below.