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Plant stress paints early picture of drought

ScienceDaily (December 5, 2012)

Plant stress paints early picture of drought

ScienceDaily (December 5, 2012)

In July 2012, farmers in the U.S. Midwest and Plains regions watched crops wilt and die after a stretch of unusually low precipitation and high temperatures. Before a lack of rain and record-breaking heat signaled a problem, however, scientists observed another indication of drought in data from NASA and NOAA satellites : plant stress.

Plant stress on June 24, 2011, (top) indicated significant drought in southern U.S. states, while plant stress on August 28, 2012, (bottom) indicated significant drought in the U.S. Midwest. Credit : NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio/USDA-ARS

Healthy vegetation requires a certain amount of water from the soil every day to stay alive, and when soil moisture falls below adequate levels, plants become stressed. Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) have developed a way to use satellite data to map that plant stress. The maps could soon aid in drought forecasts, and prove useful for applications such as crop yield estimates or decisions about crop loss compensation.

Story Source

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Pour en savoir plus (ScienceDaily)

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