Estimation of KBDI (Drought Index) in Real-Time Using GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies

Funding Agency: Texas Forest Service

Forest fire managers across the United States use drought indices for assessing wildfire risk. KBDI is a widely used drought/fire index that indicates the amount of moisture deficiency in the deep duff and upper soil layers. Current practice of computing KBDI from point source weather data and its manual interpolation across counties are subject to uncertainties. A real-time system has been developed for computing KBDI from remotely sensed data and GIS. Air temperature and precipitation data needed for computing KBDI are derived from AVHRR satellite and NEXRAD radar respectively. Use of GIS and remote sensing technologies overcome the uncertainties involved in the computation of KBDI. The spatial resolution of the data has also been improved with the use of remotely sensed data and GIS from county level to 4km × 4km. The information related to wildfire risk is updated regularly at http://twc.tamu.edu/.