Argentina, a major global producer of soybeans, faced a severe drought in 2023 that threatened agricultural production and affected the livelihoods of farmers across the country. The drought's impact on soybean crops raised concerns about food security and economic stability. To understand the extent of the impact, we turned to satellite-based remote sensing data.
The key question guiding this case study was: how were soybean crops across Argentina impacted by the 2023 drought compared to the historical baseline?
Extracting Random Locations from the Argentina GeoTIFF
We began by using a GeoTIFF crop map from Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) website. This map provided information on land cover and crop types across Argentina.
To perform our analysis, we extracted a random sample of locations from the GeoTIFF map where soybeans were grown. These locations, represented by latitude and longitude coordinates, served as the basis for our subsequent data query.
Soybean Farm Locations
First we did a sanity check by plotting the locations we used in the query:
Querying Data from Streambatch
With the locations in hand, we used the Streambatch API to query satellite-derived NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data for each location. NDVI is a widely used vegetation index that provides insights into the health and growth of vegetation. The query structure for the Streambatch API was as follows:
The query retrieved NDVI values over a specified time range (`start` and `end`) for the given locations (`space`). We obtained NDVI values for the years 2019 to 2023.
After obtaining the NDVI data, we conducted our main analysis:
We compared the peak NDVI value for 2023 with the historical baseline, which we defined as the average of peak NDVI values from previous years (2019-2022).
Impact Compared to Historical Baseline
We compared the peak NDVI value for 2023 with the historical baseline, which we defined as the average of peak NDVI values from previous years.
Visualize the NDVI time-series for all of the points
Here we plotted a simple time-series of the data:
Then we visualized the peak NDVI values for each year, highlighting the impact of the drought in 2023:
In the bar plot, the historical baseline is represented as a red dashed line. The lower peak NDVI value for 2023, as compared to the historical baseline, indicates the adverse impact of the drought on soybean crops.
Calculating Percent Change
In order to assess the magnitude of the change in 2023, we compared the % change from 2023 vs the historical baseline:
We found a -25.1% difference between the 2023 NDVI and the historical baseline.
Results & Conclusion
The analysis revealed a significant decline in peak NDVI values for soybean crops in 2023 compared to both the historical baseline and the previous year. The lower NDVI values indicated adverse effects on soybean crops, likely due to reduced soil moisture and water availability during the drought.
The 2023 Argentina drought had a substantial impact on soybean crops, as evidenced by the decline in NDVI values. Satellite-based remote sensing data, such as NDVI, provide valuable tools for monitoring and assessing agricultural conditions. Addressing the challenges posed by drought requires the development of sustainable agricultural practices, water management strategies, and climate resilience initiatives.