Drought monitoring in the Brazilian Semiarid region

An Acad Bras Cienc. 2019;91(suppl 1):e20170209. doi: 10.1590/0001-3765201720170209. Epub 2017 Oct 16.


Drought is a natural and recurrent phenomenon. It is considered 'a natural disaster' whenever it occurs in an intensive manner in highly populated regions, resulting in significant damage (material and human) and loss (socioeconomic). This paper presents the efforts developed to monitor the impact of drought in the semiarid region of Northeast Brazil. In this scope, information from different sources is compiled to support the evaluation and identification of impacted municipalities, with the main objective of supporting emergency actions to mitigate their impact. In the semiarid region of Brazil there are frequent occurrences of dry periods during the rainy season, which, depending on the intensity and duration, can cause significant damage to family-farmed crops, with a farming system characterized by low productivity indices. However, rain-fed agriculture has great economic expression and high social importance due to the region is densely occupied, and contributes to the establishment of communities in the countryside. Specifically, in the present study, the methodology adopted to monitor the impact of agricultural droughts, including an analysis of the hydrological year 2015-2016, is presented, considering different water stress indicators for the identification of the affected municipalities and assessment of the methods and tools developed.