GREENBELT, Md., July 23 (UPI) -- NASA researcher Molly Brown and colleagues have developed a computer model that can predict food shortages caused by droughts.
The scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center created the model using data from satellite remote sensing of crop growth and food prices.
Brown said the technology could assist governments and humanitarian aid officials in planning and responding to drought-induced food price increases.
Brown said that until now officials have primarily studied the after effects of occurrences such as floods or droughts that might affect crop production as the best means of warning of a coming food security crisis.
"With this new study, for the first time we can leverage satellite observations of crop production to create a more accurate price model that will help humanitarian aid organizations and other decision makers predict how much food will be available and what its cost will be as a result," said Brown. "This is a unique opportunity for an economic model to take climate variables into account in a way that can aid populations large and small."
The research is to be published early next year in the journal Land Economics.