During the period from 1999 to 2002 and in 2010, Mongolia experienced a series of droughts and severe winters that lowered livestock numbers by approximately 30% countrywide. In the Gobi region, livestock mortality reached as much as 50% with many households losing entire herds. Due to these extreme losses of livestock and its impact on pastoral livelihoods, a Livestock Early Warning System was developed for Mongolia.
The system uses near real-time weather, computer simulation modeling, and satellite imagery data sources to monitor and forecast livestock forage conditions so that pastoralists and other decision makers have needed information for timely decision making in the face of drought. Information on snow cover and extent, day and night time temperatures, and forage conditions are used to assess vulnerability to winter disasters (dzud). Data and products are produced twice a month and made available to stakeholders.