The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) identifies drought as one of the major climate risks in south Asia. The report projects that climate change will affect food security by the middle of the 21st century, with the largest number of food-insecure people located in South Asia. In context of such rising variability in climatic patterns, there is an increasing need for climate information at all stages of water resource and agricultural planning activities. During past decades, large amounts of climate information have been made available by scientific communities, but the use of that information by decision makers at local remains low. Provisioning of user-oriented, easily accessible, timely, and decision-relevant scientific information in the form of a climate service can help society to cope with current climate variability and limit the economic and social damage caused by climate-related disasters.
At a global level there are already a number of international and regional agriculture and drought monitoring systems, which play a fundamental role in the decision-making processes that govern food aid and agricultural products in the global market. While some of these systems are quite effective, there are large disparities between the monitoring capabilities of developed and developing nations. In South Asian countries direct drought related interventions are limited to meteorological drought monitoring and there are no institutional frameworks present on issues like formal drought declaration, compensation, and adaptation strategies.
ICIMOD through its SERVIR Himalaya programme, supported by USAID and NASA, is aiming to assist regional member countries (RMCs) to improve their environmental management and resilience to climate change by integrating earth observation information and operationalizing climate services in relevant sectors. Also, the River Basins programme of ICIMOD, supported by Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), aims to improve the integrated river basin management to reduce physical vulnerabilities and improve food and energy security for mountain and downstream communities in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Through these programmes, an effort is being made to promote effective use of earth observations and climate model data to support agriculture drought management practices and facilitate adaptation policies in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). With cooperation from credible global institutions, joint development with national institutions and close interaction with existing end users, sporadic climate and agriculture monitoring activities can be translated into an efficient user oriented agriculture and food security monitoring services network.
There is generally a lack of capacity in utilizing advanced methods for climate data analysis to support operational drought monitoring systems in the region. The overall objective of the workshop is to build capacity with climate scientists from ICIMOD and its member countries through a training on the techniques of climate data analysis tailored for use and applications for drought monitoring.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Climate Hazards Group have developed a series of FEWS NET products and software tools for agro-climatological analysis. Among the products is the Climate Hazards Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS), a gridded rainfall estimate produced in near-real time with a spatial resolution of 0.05 degrees (~5km), a time series from 1981 to present, and a temporal resolution of five days. The GeoCLIM, GeoWRSI, GeoCOF, and the Early Warning eXplorer (EWX), among other programs, allow users to incorporate a variety of datasets and combine them with local data to conduct agro-climatological analysis. This course focuses on the application of the GeoCLIM and the GeoWRSI tools. The workshop will focus primarily on presentations and hands-on training sessions to explore the potential of the gridded rainfall data products produced by the Climate Hazards Group for hydrology and agro-metrology.
The workshop will have three broad outputs:
By the end of the course the participants will be able to:
The target groups for the workshop are scientists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan with some experience in climate data analysis. Before the training, there will be a series of expert presentations to provide an overview of operational drought monitoring systems around the world. The workshop participants are requested to come with observed daily and monthly data (1989-2014) from their countries for data product validation purposes. This will allow for a demonstration of the calibration and validation procedure by the participants. On the last day of the workshop, participants will present their results.