Satellites report of locust plagues

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Satellites are assisting to envision enlightened conditions for dried locusts to swarm, that poses a hazard to rural prolongation and, subsequently, livelihoods and food security.

Desert locust outbreak

Desert locusts are a form of grasshopper found essentially in a Sahara, opposite a Arabian Peninsula and into India. The insect is customarily harmless, though when they overflow they can quit opposite prolonged distances and means widespread stand damage.

During a 2003–05 disease in West Africa, some-more than 8 million people were affected. Up to 100% waste were reported on cereals, 90% on legumes and 85% on pasture. It took scarcely $600 million and 13 million litres of insecticide to move a disease underneath control.

Swarming occurs when a duration of drought is followed by good rains and fast foliage growth. These conditions trigger a duration of abounding tact and overcrowding, and a increasing hit with other locusts can lead to a arrangement of vast swarms. This poise creates locusts some-more dangerous than grasshoppers.

A 1 sq km overflow contains about 40 million locusts, that eat a same volume of food in one day as about 35 000 people. In other words, a overflow a distance of a collateral of Mali or a collateral of Niger will eat a same volume of food as half a whole race of a particular country.

Desert locust

Satellites can guard a conditions that can lead to brisk locusts, such as dirt dampness and immature vegetation. ESA recently teamed adult with general partners from Algeria, France, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain and a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to exam how information from satellites such as ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity goal – or SMOS – can be used to envision locust plagues.

“At FAO, we have a decades-long lane record of forecasting plagues and operative closely with countries during biggest risk to exercise control measures,” pronounced Keith Cressman, FAO’s Senior Locust Forecasting Officer.

“By bringing a imagination together with ESA’s satellite capabilities we can significantly urge timely and accurate forecasting. Early warning means countries can act quickly to control a intensity conflict and forestall large food losses.”

Predicting locust plagues

The SMOS satellite captures images of ‘brightness temperature’ that conform to deviation issued from Earth’s surface, that can be used to benefit information on dirt dampness during a fortitude of 50 km per pixel.

By mixing this information with medium-resolution coverage from a MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites, a group downscaled SMOS dirt dampness to a fortitude of 1 km per pixel. The measurements were afterwards used to emanate maps display areas with enlightened locust brisk conditions about 70 days forward of a Nov 2016 conflict in Mauritania.

In a past, satellite-based locust forecasts were subsequent from information on immature vegetation, definition a enlightened conditions for locust swarms were already present. This authorised for a warning duration of usually one month.

Information on dirt moisture, on a other hand, indicates how most H2O is accessible for contingent foliage expansion and enlightened locust tact conditions, and can therefore foresee a participation of locusts 2–3 months in advance. The additional time is essential for a internal inhabitant authorities to organize surety measures.

SMOS satellite

“I use a information products to know a stream situation, as good as a expansion of locust outbreaks,” pronounced Ahmed Salem Benahi, Chief Information Officer for Mauritania’s National Centre for Locust Control.

“We now have a probability to see a risk of a locust conflict one to dual months in advance, that helps us to improved settle surety control.”

While a stream information products are formed on a SMOS and MODIS missions, information from a Copernicus Sentinel-3 goal will shortly be integrated to safeguard a long-term accessibility of a locust warnings.

The group is also operative on a identical product downscaling SMOS dirt dampness with Sentinel-1 observations, that will concede a serve boost of fortitude to 100 m.


Source: ESA


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