An expanded partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA could benefit farmers looking to reduce the effects of climate change on crop yields.
The agreement, announced this summer, promises expanded efforts to gather soil moisture data using satellite remote-sensing. This data could be compiled into maps that would improve farmers’ ability to forecast weather and water availability, as well as provide an early-warning system against drought.
Though higher elevation regions such as central Appalachia are not expected to warm as quickly as lowland areas, according to the USDA, extreme weather fluctuations may produce more frequent droughts and flooding. Federal researchers also say irrigation demands on freshwater resources could create water conflicts in a region where annual precipitation ranges from 30-85 inches.
— Chris Robey