Assessment of agricultural drought using MODIS derived FAO's agriculture stress index system (ASIS) over the Iran croplands

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Remote Sensing and GIS,Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Geography and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 FAO Sub-regional Office for Mesoamerica, Panama


In Iran, the drought is one of the costliest natural disasters, which has devastating consequences for the food security of agricultural households. Drought monitoring characteristics are important for better understanding of the drought phases in mitigation planning. Various satellite-based drought indices and systems have been developed and applied at both the regional and global scales. Recently the remotely sensed agricultural stress index system (ASIS) based on imagery from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR-NOAA) and Meteorological Operational Satellite (METOP) by the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) of FAO developed. It shows considerable potential for drought monitoring at the global scale. Vegetation Health Index (VHI), start and end of the crop season (SOS-EOS) are the main inputs of ASI S. While the GIEWS models use the METOP-AVHRR images (1984 at present), in this study, an attempt has been made to retrieve key ASI inputs from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to evaluate the ability of the MODIS ASIS for characterizing agricultural drought severity and explore the impacts of drought on crop production during growing season.
Comparing national and sub-national wheat and barley yields with the ASIS drought maps, demonstrated that the proposed approach could identify major historical droughts over the observed period (2002-2015) in Iran. We detected that the extreme severe drought occurred during the year 2007-2008 crop season, affecting approximately 64% of crop land.