GEOGLAM Crop Monitor Special Reports provide critical and timely information on developing threats to crop production including droughts, floods, and extreme events that are likely to result in yield shortfalls with critical food security outcomes. 


These reports support national and regional agencies and humanitarian organizations in their relief response, strategy, and planning. Since the first Crop Monitor Special Report in February 2019, seventeen Special Reports have been published providing key insight to developing threats to agricultural production. 

This year has brought numerous threats to crop production across different regions. East Africa and South Asia has been hit by a triple threat of devastating floods, desert locust infestations and COVID-19 impacts while areas of Southern Africa faced concerns over drought, water shortages, and COVID-19 impacts. 

In times of international crisis and heightened uncertainty with numerous threats to crop production, there is an even greater need for more frequent and detailed reports that represent an international consensus to reduce speculation and provide earlier warning of potential production shortfalls. In 2019, at the request of the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the GEOGLAM Crop Monitor developed the capability to produce rapid consensus assessments and reports to respond quickly to areas of emerging concern for agricultural production and food security. 

In 2020 alone Crop Monitor reported on: the developing drought in Southern Africa affecting main season crops, Zimbabwe’s record drought and worsening food security concerns, East Africa flood impacts on agricultural production from the record 2020 seasonal rains, and heavy flooding in August and September in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that affected the main agricultural producing areas with potentially severe food security outcomes. 

As an example, the May 2020 Crop Monitor Special Report on the Eastern Africa records seasonal rainfall and flooding conditions provided vital and necessary consensus-based updates on developing flood impacts across the region. This report was used as a key resource in the development of the East Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) 2020 Food Security and Nutrition Response Strategy Report.  

Figure 1. CHIRPS Rainfall Rank for Eastern Africa which indicate where rainfall totals for a given interval are ranked in the three wettest or three driest, relative to the CHIRPS historical record (1981-2019). The left panel shows the CHIRPS Rank for October to December, 2019. The middle panel shows the CHIRPS Rank for January to February, 2020. And the right panel shows the CHIRPS Rank for March to May 10th, 2020. Source: UCSB Climate Hazards Center. 



NASA Harvest and GEOGLAM are using remotely-sensed Earth observations of soil moisture and vegetation to track the influence of locust life cycles throughout Africa in order to decrease the potential food security threat affecting over 70 000 hectares of agricultural land.

A single desert locust can consume its body weight in vegetation in just one day and when 40 million of these pests gather—considered a small swarm—they can devour the food needed by 35 000 people. In a single day, a small swarm can ultimately jeopardize a farmer’s livelihood. Kenya is experiencing the worst desert locust outbreak in 70 years. In February of 2019, the swarms spread to over ten countries in eastern Africa, threatening food supplies for millions of people.

Since February 2020, the GEOGLAM Crop Monitor for Early Warning has been tracking and publicizing alerts on desert locust spread and resulting impacts on crop conditions. Organizations such as NASA Harvest, FAO, USAID, SERVIR, the World Food Program, RCMRD, IGAD, and NASA SpoRT have been collaborating to provide remotely-sensed data and agricultural monitoring resources to decision makers in affected regions. This data provides governments and farmers with timely and accurate information about crop forecasts and locust migration paths which are ultimately used for policy implementation and mitigation efforts.

SDG 2: Global Agriculture Monitoring System 


In the early 2000s, the University of Maryland (UMD) together with NASA and the US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) developed the first web-based platform to enable near-real-time monitoring of global croplands using NASA MODIS data, enabling operational users across the globe to track crop conditions as seasons unfolded. 

The UMD system is one the basis for the GEOGLAM GEO flagship. Currently, UMD, NASA and USDA  are developing a new cloud-based implementation of the the platform. 

The new cloud-based provides on-the-fly data projection, masking, color table application, image differencing, and statistics calculation. Collection of datasets, crop masks, and color ramps is highly flexible.

The system has been expaned expanded to include precipitation, temperature, and soil moisture along with EO data. In addition to the global interface, the new architecture allows customized country level interfaces, enhancing usership and accessibility of relevant EO data to specific regions around the world. Through the regional initiative Agriculture Monitoring in the Americas (a joint working group bridging GEOGLAM and AmeriGEO), end users in Argentina (INTA, MinAgri, Bolsa de Cereales), Chile (INIA), and Brazil (Conab) were engaged in the co-design of the new cloud-based service. 

Screenshots from the global GLAM Interface


Screenshots from the Brazil-Conab Interface


 © 2020 Group on Earth Observations. Proudly created by SparkPlug Designs

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Flickr