Temperature conditions continue to be 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 expected precipitation and therefore shows a more negative NDVI difference for 2016 than compared to the Long Term Average. Vegetation conditions continue to look good over of Iraq, with higher than average precipitation levels, when compared to the long term average, while north-eastern Syria is below the conditions of the previous year and the long term average. Some improvement in vegetation conditions can be seen over Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, when compared to the previous 10 day period in March, and should continue to improve.
It is still too early in the season to state whether crop production will be affected by weather conditions, and RFSAN will continue to monitor the situation. RFSAN also produces rainfall and Agricultural Stress Index products on a monthly basis, and these should be used in conjunction with these NDVI products.