This document is prepared in the framework of Millennium project no 38: FESA Micro-Insurance, a project commissioned by the Netherlands Minister of Development Cooperation, as a contribution to reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The project aims to develop an abundant satellite based climatic data source and a related drought insurance system that can reach every farmer in Africa. In this report we study the suitability of Meteosat derived climatic data for this purpose. Focus will be on Meteosat derived evapotranspiration, derived through the earth surface energy balance.
Since 1993, EARS is receiving hourly Meteosat data for this purpose and is operating a corresponding satellite data processing line. It operates independently, not needing other input data. Actual evapotranspiration data are closely related to crop growth. This is what drought insurance is particularly targeting at and for this reason we also discuss the use of these data for crop yield estimation.
Besides evapotranspiration data, EARS is also operating a rainfall processing line to generate daily rainfall data fields for Africa. The methodology is based on counting cloud level frequencies. It uses calibration with ground measured rain gauge data and consequently is not independent of the availability and quality of such ground measurements. The use of rainfall data is not advocated because of its dependence on ground data and because of the unknown faith of the precipitation, in view of surface run-off and deep percolation. Nevertheless a long term rainfall data base will also be developed as an alternative to the evapotranspiration data.