Agricultural drought assessment in East Asia using satellite-based indices

Dong Hyun Yoon, Won Ho Nam, Hee Jin Lee, Eun Mi Hong, Song Feng, Brian D. Wardlow, Tsegaye Tadesse, Mark D. Svoboda, Michael J. Hayes, Dae Eui Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Drought is the meteorological phenomenon with the greatest impact on agriculture. Accordingly, drought forecasting is vital in lessening its associated negative impacts. Utilizing remote exploration in the agricultural sector allows for the collection of large amounts of quantitative data across a wide range of areas. In this study, we confirmed the applicability of drought assessment using the evaporative stress index (ESI) in major East Asian countries. The ESI is an indicator of agricultural drought that describes anomalies in actual/reference evapotranspiration (ET) ratios that are retrieved using remotely sensed inputs of land surface temperature (LST) and leaf area index (LAI). The ESI is available through SERVIR Global, a joint venture between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This study evaluated the performance of ESI in assessing drought events in South Korea. The evaluation of ESI is possible because of the availability of good statistical data. Comparing drought trends identified by ESI data from this study to actual drought conditions showed similar trends. Additionally, ESI reacted to the drought more quickly and with greater sensitivity than other drought indices. Our results confirmed that the ESI is advantageous for short and medium-term drought assessment compared to vegetation indices alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number444
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Agricultural drought
  • Drought monitoring
  • Evaporative Stress Index (ESI)
  • Satellite imagery
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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