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The NASA Hydrological Forecast and Analysis System (NHyFAS; Arsenault et al., 2020) was developed to provide seasonal drought forecasts that are relevant for USAID and USACE activities in the Middle East and Africa, based on existing NASA Earth science capabilities. Primary goals include: (1) supporting USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) to better predict water supply deficits related to agricultural drought and food insecurity, and (2) provide indicators related to forecasted hydrological anomalies and conditions.
* Disclaimer:  The below figures and forecast information are provisionally provided as experimental, and these products are for reference only and at user-own discretion and risk.

Regional Forecasts

The regional forecast web pages include maps of monthly and seasonal anomalies, standardized anomalies and percentiles of root zone soil moisture, percent saturation of root zone and surface soil moisture, streamflow anomalies, and probabilistic forecasts. Surface soil is the top 10-cm soil layer and root zone soil is the top 1-meter soil layer.

Continental Africa Forecasts

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Precipitation (left) and Root Zone Soil Moisture (right) Percentile Forecasts


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Precipitation (left) and Root Zone Soil Moisture (right) Anomaly Forecasts
Hydrologic forecasts are generated using all ensemble members from the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) climate forecasts. The maps above plot the median percentile or anomaly value of all forecast ensembles, relative to 1982-2010 hindcast (or reforecast) years.  The left-hand set of plots shows monthly precipitation percentile and anomaly forecasts from the NMME seasonal forecast. The right-hand set of plots shows the root-zone soil moisture (top 1-meter soil layer) percentile and anomaly forecasts generated with the NMME forecast input. The upper left figure of each soil moisture panel shows the monthly-averaged soil moisture initial conditions (ICs), which are derived from historic model runs using CHIRPS precipitation with MERRA-2 forcing fields for the month leading up to the forecast period. The Noah-MP and NASA's Catchment land surface models (LSMs) are used to generate the soil moisture forecasts and initial condition plots.
Probabilistic Forecasts for Root Zone Soil Moisture
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The likelihood of departure from normal maps above are based on hydrologic forecast ensembles comprised of 36 members (1982-2017) for ESP and all members for NMME. These maps indicate the forecast probability (in %) of root zone soil moisture being in “Above Normal” (>67 percentile), “Normal” (between 33 to 67 percentile) and “Below Normal” (<33 percentile). For example, the grid cells depicted by dark green [brown] color are likely to be in “Above normal” [“Below Normal”] category. Probability values are shown only when the probability of being in a given category is greater than 40% and is in white otherwise. Note that climatologically, the probability of being in a given tercile category is 33%.
Contact: Abheera Hazra (UMD/ESSIC; NASA/GSFC), Kristi Arsenault (SAIC; NASA/GSFC) or S. Shukla (UCSB) for more information.
  • Arsenault, K.R., and Coauthors, 2020: The NASA hydrological forecast system for food and water security applications. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 101, E1007–E1025,
  • Shukla, S., and Coauthors, 2020: Improving early warning of drought-driven food insecurity in southern Africa using operational hydrological monitoring and forecasting products. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1187-1201,
Original project details: The original project, Forecasting for Africa and the Middle East (FAME), was funded by the NASA Applied Sciences Program and included partners from NASA, USAID, USGS, UCSB, Johns Hopkins University, ICBA, and DoD/ERDC.  Details of the original project can be found here.