The Current and Future EUROCLIMA Observatory on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) for Latin America
Carrao, Hugo; Barbosa, Paulo; Cherlet, Michael; Magni, Diego; Valentini, Luana; de Jager, Alfred

The Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) Component of the EUROCLIMA Programme aims to increase and improve south-to-south cooperation, knowledge transfer, decision support on drought mitigation and preparedness on the problems of land degradation and desertification in Latin America. Improved understanding of the different types of drought, their connection to multi-scale land degradation phenomena and the strategic management of DLDD impacts on environmental and socio-economical sustainability, requires the development of standards and multiple indicators that are appropriate to various sectors of activity, different applications and many geographical regions. The EUROCLIMA activities on DLDD aim to reinforce the awareness-building process on Latin America, by promoting the access to consistent information from different sources and to provide the means for connecting it at different spatial and temporal scales for harmonized, comparable, complete and updated overviews of the hazard processes and events for the region. In detail, the essential activities of the EUROCLIMA DLDD component are:

  • To allow for the coordinated collection, harmonisation, analysis, and distribution of relevant data and products for assessing and monitoring DLDD in Latin America â€'' Research and Development (R&D) activity;
  • To improve the knowledge of the Latin American decision makers and the scientific community on the problems and consequences of DLDD â€'' Capacity Building (CB) activity;
  • To contribute to a long-term regional and continental Information System on drought and desertification â€'' from R&D to CB activities.
    A scientific network of Latin American institutions is supporting the implementation of the EUROCLIMA Information System on DLDD. The products to be distributed to the Latin American community are defined in common agreement with the Latin American experts on DLDD and made available through map-based Web viewer (i.e. the EUROCLIMA DLDD Observatory for Latin America, The EUROCLIMA DLDD Observatory is built on up-to-date models to transfer and analyse data, create information and distribute the knowledge that decision makers need for improved management and planning. The map-based Web viewer is based on similar work currently being developed by the JRC for the European Drought Observatory (EDO, and for the New World Atlas of Desertification (WAD,
    Because the EUROCLIMA activities connect intrinsically to the work being developed in the framework of WAD, a parallel research on the economic evaluation of land degradation with the contribution of the ComisiA3n EconA3mica para AmA©rica Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) de las Naciones Unidas (UN) and the convergence of data, information and knowledge between the two initiatives is promoted on a regular basis. The results of this cooperation are expected also to be part of the Web Information System platform for data visualization and analysis through the map-based Web viewer. Overall, the products to be distributed through the map-based Web viewer constitute are expected to be the basis for retrieving added value information on DLDD from local to continental scales in Latin America and to cover the user requirements for the region. Multi-scale data and information are provided and captured both by the Latin American institutional partners and the JRC. Specifically, the DESERT Action of the JRC actively contributes to the EUROCLIMA Programme by executing the following work packages:
  • Establishment of a Latin American scientific network on DLDD;
  • Data collection and harmonisation;
  • Data analysis:
    Computation of the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI);
    Computation of phenological metrics (from remote-sensing data);
    Mapping drought hazard (based on drought frequency);
  • Data distribution: Implementation of an Information System on DLDD built upon a map-based Web platform.
    The main goal of this paper is to document the current activities and future developments behind the implementation of the DLDD Observatory and Information System for Latin America. In detail, we aim at describing the technical advances and conceptual architecture of the web map viewer being developed in the framework of the Programme EUROCLIMA. Similarly, we present the harmonized datasets on drought and desertification already accessible thought the EUROCLIMA web portal and those to be available for the region by the end of the project. To better understand the conceptual and effective technical development of the Observatory, we first present an overview of the EUROCLIMA project and background activities, namely: capacity building activities, dealing with the establishment and consolidation of a scientific network on DLDD for Latin America, preparation of scientific meetings and organization of training workshops; and research and development activities, dealing with the aspects of data collection and analysis to follow the problems of drought, land degradation and desertification in Latin America. Finally, we present the current state-of-the-art of the DLDD Observatory for Latin America, namely its model inputs, map viewer and associated datasets, and future perpectives on climate change analysis.