Using GEO for Early Warning and Food Security in East Africa (GEOSAF)

GEOSAF researchers created short-term soil moisture forecasts using several crop growth and soil moisture models.


To improve upon the very basic in situ monitoring network for weather and climate data in East Africa, . GEOSAF project  researchers created  short-term soil moisture forecasts using several crop growth and soil moisture models (ECMWF, EPIC, ALADIN). The quality of the modeling data was determined using a variety of satellite observation products.

By measuring the quality of forecasts and the predictability of weather-related events, new insights can be gained into the ability of satellite-based applications to provide a more accurate early warnings of droughts, floods, and other severe weather events potentially threatening the East African region.

The influence of extreme weather events is severe in east Africa, in particular those related to flood and drought. These hinder sustained development in agriculture and increase the difficulty of maintaining efficient water management. Although weather cannot be changed or modified, better monitoring and forecasting on both short and seasonal timescales can significantly improve adaptation and mitigation strategies.  Such forecasting can also improve the planning and conducting of humanitarian relief operations.

IIASA Research

IIASA researchers developed a prototype early warning system to enhance existing bulletins with soil moisture information from satellites, seasonal meteorological forecasts, and crop yield predictions from the EPIC model for the Horn of Africa.

The project assessed the added value of soil moisture information and linked this to profiles of NDVI, FAPAR, and EVI. User requirements were driven by interviews with users of early warning information and a review of existing early warning bulletins.

An interactive tool for querying soil moisture and NDVI profiles at the pixel and sub-national administrative unit were developed for both the internet and for mobile platforms. 

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Last edited: 02 June 2014


Steffen Fritz

EOCS Center Head and Deputy Program Director

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 353

Linda See

Senior Research Scholar

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 423


01.05.2012 - 31.10.2013


Project Homepage

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313