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Drought in Northern China

Drought in Northern China

A mild drought set in over the Yellow River Basin and parts of the North China Plain during the first five months of 2006. Dry weather and warmer-than-average temperatures in February, March, and much of April left soil dry, reported the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The effect of the dry weather on crops and other vegetation is apparent in this vegetation anomaly (difference from normal) image. The image was created from data taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite between April 23 and May 8, and it shows the relative health of plants in 2006 compared to the average for 2000-2005. Wide pockets of brown indicate regions where plants were growing more slowly than average, while brushes of green show more growth than average. The cream-colored background reveals where plants were growing normally, and regions that were cloud-covered during the entire sixteen-day period are gray.

According to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the drought-affected region accounts for about 38 percent of China’s winter wheat production. Despite the drought, the FAS predicted that the winter wheat harvest in the country as a whole, scheduled to peak in early June, would be slightly larger than it was in 2004 or 2005.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided by Inbal Reshef as part of the Global Agricultural Monitoring Project, a collaboration between NASA, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and the University of Maryland. More data and information about this joint project are available at Satellite Information for Agricultural Monitoring.