A $3.5 million dollar, 5-year grant from NASA’s Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments (MEaSUREs) Program was recently awarded to a USGS-led multi-agency team of scientists studying future global food security. The proposal is entitled “Global Cropland Area Database (GCAD30) through Landsat and MODIS Data Fusion for the Years 2010 and 1990 and Its Dynamics Over Four Decades using AVHRR and MODIS.” The main goal of this project is to produce consistent and unbiased estimates of global agricultural cropland areas, types, watering method, and cropping intensities using multi-sensor Earth Observation Data from satellites and cropland mapping algorithms. The project will create a Global Cropland Area Database consisting of four distinct products: cropland extent\area, crop type, irrigated versus rainfed crops, and cropping intensity. The data and products will make a significant contribution toward addressing global water and food security in the 21st century, taking into consideration complexities of ballooning populations, greater nutritional demands from expanding economies, and virtual water and food trade of modern, globally interlinked economies.
The global food security study area will focus on the first four classes listed where nearly 95% of all croplands are concentrated.