Temperature conditions have remained hotter than average across the region for February, March and April, 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 May. Precipitation has also been below the long term average over Syria in February, March and April, 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 expected precipitation and therefore shows a greater NDVI difference for 2016 than compared to the Long Term Average. Vegetation conditions continue to look good over the northern and central Iraq when compared to the long term average, while north-eastern Syria also shows above average vegetation activity.
Crop production is likely to be affected by the adverse weather conditions in Syria, with below average yield predicted. The winter crop season is just about complete and consequences of the higher temperatures and lower rainfall may be evident. At this stage wheat and barley are at the maturing/drying stage with harvesting due to occur in May/June. RFSAN also produces rainfall and Agricultural Stress Index products on a monthly basis, and these should be used in conjunction with these NDVI products.