Analysis of Climate Change and Food Security

Space Research Institute NASU-NSAU


In 1991, following economic, social and political problems, the USSR disintegrated and Ukraine formed the new country. It has been immediately revealed that in addition to the already mentioned problems Ukraine has been also facing serious environmental troubles due to a dramatic and large-scale overexploitation of natural resources during USSR’s existence. As the result, in many areas land has been degraded considerably; shortages of water especially in dry years are very unbearable; air, water and land were polluted affecting human health; sea coasts have been degraded; excessive soil and wind erosion removed tons of productive soil etc. In addition, climate of Ukraine is dry with very frequent droughts, which create extra burden for the economy and especially for agriculture. As the time goes by, the situation was complicated by an increase in natural disasters and the needs for more water resources for industry, agriculture and human existence. Recent advances in satellite technology, improvement in ground-based environmental observations and socioeconomic records permitted to make more comprehensive analysis about consequences of intensification of natural disaster and their impacts on economy and agriculture. Unfortunately, Ukraine does not have these assessments due to an absence of long-term data records characterizing the impacts and future tendencies in climate parameters, land cover changes provided by satellite data and agricultural activities.
Therefore, the overall goal of the project is to analyze climate change & food security based on remote sensing & in situ data sets. To achieve the main goal several concrete objectives will be followed:

  • Develop a system containing long-term remote sensing and in situ data sets characterizing climate, land cover and agricultural parameters.
  • Identify current trend and future trends in climate, land cover and agricultural parameters.
  • Model agricultural production in response to climate and land cover.
  • Early warning such natural disasters as drought and low temperature in winter affecting food security in Ukraine.

This proposal will have the following 2-year major practical tasks: First year – (1) Develop the archive of the 30-year satellite and in situ data records; (2) evaluate current trend in climate, land surface and agricultural records; (3) Modeling drought and low winter temperature affecting winterkill by combining satellite proxy and climate data; (4) Assess drought-related agricultural production losses; (5) Future trends in regional vegetation green-up, seasonal precipitation and temperature; (6) Future environmental trends contribution to food security in Ukraine. The following methods will be used: time series analysis; correlation and regression analysis; principal component analysis; and pattern recognition analysis.
This project is based on the innovative approach connecting food security tendencies with the trends in a combination of land cover and climate change. Such combination was not used before and we expect to receive more accurate estimation for food supply specifically and food security in general. Therefore, this project will result in new knowledge and will provide a new and comprehensive combined data set available to use in other research. The US team’s expertise in satellite technology processing and use will be beneficial to the Ukrainian team and Ukrainian expertise on climate modeling and projection will be beneficial to US team.