SYN product is similar to the SPOT VEGETATION (reflectance TOA and NDVI products). This enables the correct continuity of the NDVI series, introduced by the SPOT VEGETATION tandem. The SPOT VEGETATION system supported the monitoring of food security  and crops  through the provision of operational observations of vegetation at a spatial resolution of 1 km and at continental scales.
In the context of crop monitoring and food security, the most useful parameter delivered by Sentinel-3 is the NDVI product. As with VEGETATION, this parameter is used for the early detection of deterioration of vegetation conditions and, as a consequence, of potential risk of drought. The evolution of a drought in the horn of Africa is shown in the image below, drawing attention to drought and subsequent famine .
Figure 1: Vegetation Condition Index with SPOT VEGETATION (Credit: JRC)
Figure 2: Vegetation Condition Through NDVI Evolution with SPOT VEGETATION (Credit: JRC)
Food security monitoring activities are supported by three European projects (Copernicus framework). They combine satellite data with agricultural models for:
- early warning
- agricultural mapping
- crop yield assessment service.
Since 1988, The European Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) used satellite data at national, regional and continental scales to provide scientific and technical support on EU agricultural and food security policies.
Sentinel-1, -2, and -3 are supplying Earth observation data for food security monitoring. These data are characterised by a high revisit time, large geographical coverage, rapid data dissemination and coherent and reliable information.
The capabilities of food security monitoring and forecasting will be based on the operational Copernicus Land Monitoring Service.
Even if Earth observation is increasingly used to examine crops globally, additional research and resources are required for:
- increasing the quality of satellite derived agricultural products
- reinforcement of field data collection for validation of satellite derived products
- maintenance of continuity and quality of current space-based food security monitoring systems
- precise definition of the requirements for future satellite data for agricultural monitoring
- integration of Earth observation data into traditional crop monitoring systems.
For further information about climate applications and services available, see: Copernicus website.