Astrophysics to Predict Drought
Researchers at University of Sussex have developed a system called Astrocast to accurately predict a drought in East Africa upto ten weeks ahead. It was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of data scientists (astronomers and mathematicians) and geographers using techniques from astronomy. It used advanced statistical methods measuring past and present Vegetation Condition Index (VCI) based on satellite imagery to identify drought conditions. This enables policy makers to intervene earlier to minimise the devastating effect of drought on local people. With Astrocast forecasts, the monthly drought bulletins can include a prediction of VCI in the coming weeks, giving farmers and policy makers to prepare for the outcome.