Scientists are developing a satellite system, Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM), to record temperatures of individual fields of crops. Copernicus, the EU’s Earth observation system is considering including it in its programme.
This would provide increased precision for valuable data such as how crops respond to drought and their water use. and show how they transfer that water back to the atmosphere. The remote sensing can provide a consistent global view that can be used to monitor and respond to changes. This would contribute to the overall optimisation of crop production.
Predicting drought conditions, calculating a more exact amount of water needed and tracking when is best to irrigate crops would enable farmers can optimise yields and reduce water wastage. By harnessing space technology, could we optimise the global agriculture industry for a changing climate?
Optimising agriculture technology is a necessary step to address food scarcity concerns. The increase of unpredictable, extreme weather caused by climate change leaves farmers vulnerable to low yields and the global food system vulnerable to shortages.
This initiative does not safeguard the industry against the worst impacts of climate change, however. While the response of plants to droughts can be more accurately monitored, severe droughts will require more than optimisation to enable continued yields.
However, a more efficient agriculture industry could potentially help us prepare.