ASSESSMENT OF EARLY SEASON AGRICULTURAL DROUGHT USING REMOTE SENSING
Drought is a stochastic natural hazard that is caused by intense and persistent shortage of precipitation. The initial shortage of rainfall subsequently impacts the agriculture and hydrology sectors. Marathwada region of India comes under highly drought prone area in the country. Recent times have shown the increase in occurrence of agricultural drought in the non-monsoon season. The deviation from normal rainfall in the month of October causes soil moisture deficit which triggers an agricultural drought in the early-Rabi season. The traditional remote sensing based agricultural drought monitoring indices lack in identifying the early-season (ES) drought. An attempt has been made in the present study, to map ES agricultural drought in the Aurangabad district of Marathwada region using remote sensing. The meteorological deficit in the month of October, has been assessed using Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Impact of meteorological fluctuations on agricultural system in terms of dryness/wetness was evaluated using the Shortwave Angel Slope Index (SASI) derived using MODIS (Terra) Level-3, 8 daily, surface reflectance data for the October months of 2001–2012. It was observed that the area experiences moderate to severe drought 5 times with 12 years of study period (2001–2012). SASI and its parameters were estimated for each week of October month. SASI maps were further classified in four categories viz. moist vegetation; dry vegetation; moist soil and dry soil. The detailed analyses if these maps indicate that agricultural stress occurs in this area even if there is no meteorological stress. However, whenever, there is meteorological stress the area under agricultural stress exceeds more than 50% of the study region. A frequency distribution map of ES drought was prepared to identify the most drought prone area of the district and to alternately identify the irrigated area of the district.