Drought Situation

[Italian only]
La siccità che sta interessando diverse regioni italiane, soprattutto al Nord, risulta avere una origine di lungo periodo, come dimostrano i valori sotto la media di grandi fiumi e laghi e i livelli in discesa di diverse falde più superficiali. In particolare regioni quali Piemonte, Emilia Romagna e Veneto presentano oltre il 25% del loro territorio affetto da siccità severo-estrema dovuta ad una scarsità di piogge che risale ad almeno un anno (vedi mappa). Ad aggravare la situazione si sono aggiunte le temperature miti di questo inverno e i venti di föhn che hanno aumentato l’evapotraspirazione e ridotto drasticamente l’umidità del suolo, e le scarse nevicate, paragonabili quasi a quelle del tristemente noto 2007. Le piogge della parte iniziale e finale del mese hanno sicuramente permesso di effettuare le operazioni colturali di preparazione del terreno, semina e concimazione necessarie a far partire la stagione agricola, ma certamente non sono state sufficienti a compensare i quantitativi di acqua che non sono arrivati nei mesi precedenti. E’ possibile che nemmeno un maggio fortemente piovoso possa far recuperare il deficit nelle zone più colpite.

Drought WebGIS

A WebGIS application based on open source solutions customized to integrate different datasets and share maps and graphs of drought indices with researchers, decision-makers and other stakeholders. Different functions allow to select sections of territory or visualize the trend of the indices in a specific pixel. Maps and graphs can also be downloaded in png format.
Please Note: Due to the size of the images, it is possible to download sections of the vegetation indices smaller than the whole geographic window.

Other Services

Open data

Through CKAN and GeoServer, a complete catalog to publish data and metadata in several formats and standard protocols. Spatial data can be integrated and reused by any third-party client applications.

API REstful

The service allows the integration of any client application data from the Drought Observatory Spatial Data Infrastructure. The RESTful APIs developed are available on the GitHub platform.​

The drought is a complex phenomenon

The complexity of the drought phenomenon requires the availability of a system as comprehensive and integrated as possible to respond to the different users requests.

The challenge
Increasing environmental resilience

Heat waves and droughts have important and increasing repercussions on physical, chemical and biological systems, and on some socio-economical aspects such as health, agriculture, natural ecosystems and tourism. One of the main challenge to cope with drought is to reduce the temporal gap between the onset and development of a dry period, and the response in managing drought-related emergencies.

A Scientific Proactive approach
Technical support and timely information

Although these extreme events require effective actions, policymakers and water users often show low preparedness because of the lack of a proactive approach consisting of monitoring and forecasting activities, mitigation measures and public education.

A frequent Phenomenon

After flooding, it is the second natural disaster that affects the population.

Long term impact

The impact on the environment and human activities can show up late and persist even after the end of the drought event.


Its intensity and spatial extent are extremely variable.


With respect to other natural extreme events, drought is characterised by a slow and often difficult to define onset and a long-lasting evolution.

Drought Observatory: the reason why

Drought monitoring supports a better resilience to reduce the impacts of drought events

Drought monitoring and forecasting system

Institute of BioEconomy of the National Research Council (IBE-CNR) created a system to provide a semi-automatic, detailed, timely and comprehensive operational service. This service, initially developed for Tuscany Region, supports decision makers, water authorities, researchers and general stakeholders.

Integration of ground-based and satellite data

Meteorological stations network, satellite images and models are integrated through an open source and interoperable SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure) based on PostgreSQL/PostGIS to produce vegetation and precipitation indices to follow the occurrence and evolution of a drought event.

The Indices: Drought occurrences and trends

The system is based on a monitoring component and on a forecasting ones. It uses two type of indices:

  • direct climate-based indices.
  • indirect vegetation-based indices

A continuous Work-in-Progress

Spatial Data Infrastructure

New technical improvements in the ICT infrastructure, coupled with scientific advances, allow a timely, ready-to-use and users-specific upgrading of the early warning communication.

SOA | OGC | PostgreSQL

A Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) based on Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards. Database-centred architecture, with PostgreSQL DataBase Management System.

Innovative Approach

The geographic data flows (from the download of remote sensing and climatic data to the storage of final indices) and all the related geoprocessing functions are integrated in a single environment.

Advanced Statistical Procedures

The integration of the PL/R (R Procedural Language) wrapper into the procedural language of PostgreSQL (PL/pgSQL) allowed the creation of advanced statistical procedures using R engine.