Central-Southwest Asia is a semi-arid, economically stressed region where droughts have severe societal impacts in terms of agriculture, farming, access to fresh water for drinking, and sanitation. There are two sources of drought predictability for this area: the influence of predictable modes of large-scale climate variability at both seasonal and intraseasonal timescales, and the importance of the snow pack to warm season river flows and vegetation. Local data scarcity is a critical problem for the region, both for historical analysis and for real-time monitoring. However, analysis shows that satellite data can be used to provide a considerable amount of high-resolution local information about the region, and that operationally-available large-scale climate data adequately captures the influence of regional-scale variable and, critically, can also be used to infer the snow pack. These different aspects of predictability can be combined to provide information at a range of time-scales from seasonal to daily, but communication of the predictions to the relevant decision-makers in the region has proven difficult.
climate, regional drought, forecasting, drought patterns
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