Temperature conditions have been hotter than average across the region for February and March, 2016, and medium term Forecasts by the World Meteorological Organization Lead Center for Long-Range Forecast also indicate the probability of temperatures being above normal for the season (March-April-May). Precipitation has also been below the long term average over Syria in February, 2016 and this coupled with the higher temperatures has seen vegetation growth for this time period to be below average. 2015 had a higher than average precipitation and therefore shows a greater NDVI difference for 2016 than compared to the Long Term Average.
Vegetation conditions look good over the northern areas of Iraq when compared to the long term average, while north-eastern Syria is below the conditions of the previous year and the long term average. The rainfall over most of Iraq is above the previous year as well as above the 15 year average, so conditions at the moment seem relatively good for crop production and livestock grazing. The rainfall situation over Lebanon and Jordan has shown a marked improvement when compared to the previous month.
The ASI analysis for the March 2016 season indicates that crop growing and grazing conditions have improved in the last third of March when compared to February and early March. Please note that since the ASI is based on Remotely Sensed data only, there is no confirmation on what crops have been planted. As this is still early in the growing season, April should provide a better update on the crop season outlook.