PSD & NIDIS Host Famine Early Warning System Network Science Workshop


August 1, 2007

NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division (PSD) and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Program Office will co-host and participate in a science workshop of the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) August 6-10, 2007 in Boulder, CO. The workshop will focus on improvement of monitoring and modeling methods used to assess and help mitigate adverse impacts on food security arising from extreme climate conditions (droughts, floods, hurricanes). In addition, on August 3, a special advance "Climate Change Session" will be held to inform field scientists about the latest NOAA research on climate variability and change. Workshop attendees are expected from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, USGS, USDA, NASA, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and Chemonics International (a private sector organization with expertise in developing country food security assessment and contingency planning).

Background:
FEWS NET is an activity of the USAID Office of Food for Peace. Its main purpose is to identify populations at risk of experiencing food security emergencies requiring assistance of the international community. Organizations providing food aid need good information as early as possible to design programs that assist the most vulnerable people without disrupting markets. FEWS NET implementing partners include experts in the fields of social and physical sciences. They work to identify regions at elevated risk of detrimental climate conditions that can impact economies and livelihoods, reducing availability and access to food. FEWS NET focuses on populations at risk in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Haiti, and Afghanistan. Since the 1990s, NOAA has provided daily gridded precipitation estimates derived from ground observations and satellite images, short-term weather forecasts, and more recently, seasonal forecasts. NOAA also leads the weekly preparation of weather assessments for FEWS NET regions through web meetings with USGS, NASA, USDA, UCSB, and Chemonics.

Significance:
NOAA research and operations are providing critical information in support of the implementation of FEWS NET. This workshop is an ideal opportunity to get two drought monitoring communities (NIDIS and FEWS NET) together to share information, techniques, and approaches. The Early warning system structure that the FEWS NET utilizes for developing countries is similar to the conceptual framework that is being used in the implementation of NIDIS. These activities support NOAA's mission goals of understanding climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and respond, and of serving society's needs for weather and water information.

Contact: Robert Webb More Information: