AbstractThe Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) team provides food insecurity outlooks for several developing countries in Africa, Central Asia, and Central America. This study describes development of a new global reference evapotranspiration (ETo) seasonal reforecast and skill evaluation with a particular emphasis on the potential use of this dataset by the FEWS NET to support food insecurity early warning. The ETo reforecasts span the 1982-2009 period and are calculated following ASCE’s formulation of Penman-Monteith method driven by seasonal climate forecasts of monthly mean temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation from NCEP’s CFSv2 and NASA’s GEOS-5 models. The skill evaluation using deterministic and probabilistic scores, focuses on the December-February (DJF), March-May (MAM), June-August (JJA) and September-November (SON) seasons. The results indicate that ETo forecasts are a promising tool for early warning of drought and food insecurity. Globally, the regions where forecasts are most skillful (correlation >0.35 at lead-2) include Western U.S., northern parts of South America, parts of Sahel region and Southern Africa. The FEWS NET regions where forecasts are most skillful (correlation >0.35 at lead-3) include Northern Sub-Saharan Africa (DJF, dry season), Central America (DJF, dry season), parts of East Africa (JJA, wet Season), Southern Africa (JJA, dry season), and Central Asia (MAM, wet season). A case study over parts of East Africa for the JJA season shows that ETo forecasts in combination with the precipitation forecasts could have provided early warning of recent severe drought events (e.g., 2002, 2004, 2009) that contributed to substantial food insecurity in the region.
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 1, 2017
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