Tsegaye Tadesse

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
  • Grants
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  • Courses Taught
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Title Climatologist
Address 816 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-3383
FAX 402-472-2946
Cell 402-202-8127
E-mail ttadesse2@unl.edu
Vitae Download file
Contact Preference

e-mail, open door policy

Hi, I'm Tsegaye Tadesse, and I'm an assistant professor and climatologist in the School of Natural Resources with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC).

Prior to coming to Lincoln, I was in Strasbourg, France, where I received a master's degree in space studies, specializing in remote sensing applied to drought. I joined the University of Nebraska in 1998 as a graduate student under Dr. Don Wilhite, then the director of the NDMC. I have a Ph.D. in Agro-meteorology from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and a bachelor's in Physics from Addis Ababa University. I am originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and I became a U.S. citizen in 2005.

My main research interest is identifying drought characteristics and their association with satellite and oceanic indices using data mining techniques. I am part of the GIScience and analysis team at the NDMC that is working to develop a suite of drought monitoring tools that provide information to a diverse user community to support drought planning and mitigation activities. In collaboration with scientists at the National Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science and the University of Nebraska, the team is developing a new drought monitoring tool called the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI). The VegDRI maps and products represent a bi-weekly snapshot of vegetation stress due to drought across the United States. At present this tool covers the central and western United States and is expected to cover the remaining areas of the eastern United States in the spring of 2009.

The other model that I am developing in collaboration with my colleagues is called the Vegetation Outlook (VegOut) model, which will provide general vegetation condition information several weeks in advance. This model is based on climate, satellite, oceanic and biophysical observations.

My research interests also include applying data mining techniques to drought; climate change issues, specifically on monitoring and impact assessment at global, regional and local scales; and impacts of drought on food security. I'm also working on a NASA project entitled "Incorporating Remote Sensing Information into the U.S. Drought Monitor" with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NDMC.

Another project I'm involved is "The Impact of Weather Extremes on Agricultural Production Methods: Does Drought Increase the Adoption of Conservation Tillage Practices?" The objective of this project is to improve agricultural practices to mitigate the economic impacts of drought.

Selected Publications

Berhan, G., S. Hill, T. Tadesse, and S. Atnafu, 2011. Using Satellite Images for Drought Monitoring: A knowledge discovery approach. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, 7(1):135-153.
Berhan, G., T. Tadesse, S. Atnafu, S. Hill, and Y. Tesfatsion, 2012. Application of NDVI and SPI Parameters to Monitor Drought at National Scale: The Case of Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Development Research, 34 (1): 67-94.
Swain, S., B.D. Wardlow, S. Narumalani, T. Tadesse, and K. Callahan, 2011. Assessment of vegetation response to drought in Nebraska using Terra-MODIS land surface temperature and normalized difference vegetation index. GIScience and Remote Sensing 48(3):432-455.
Tadesse, T., B.D. Wardlow, M.J. Hayes, M.D. Svoboda, and J.F. Brown, 2010. The Vegetation Condition Outlook (VegOut): A New Method for Predicting Vegetation Seasonal Greenness. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 47(1):25-52.
Ding, Y., K. Schoengold, and T. Tadesse, 2009. The Impact of Weather Extremes on Agricultural Production Methods: Does drought increase adoption of conservation tillage practices? Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 34(3):395-411.
Wardlow, B.D., M.J. Hayes, M.D. Svoboda, T. Tadesse, and K.H. Smith, 2009. Sharpening the Focus on Drought - New Monitoring and Assessment Tools at the National Drought Mitigation Center. Earthzine. (Available online)   On-Line
Brown, J.F., B.D. Wardlow, T. Tadesse, M.J. Hayes, and B.C. Reed, 2008. The vegetation drought response index (VegDRI): a new integrated approach for monitoring drought stress in vegetation. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 45(1):16-46.   On-Line
Tadesse, T., B. Wardlow, and M. Hayes, 2008. The application of data mining for drought monitoring and prediction. Data Mining Applications for Empowering Knowledge Societies, Idea Group Publishers, New York, NY, pp. 280-291.
Tadesse, T., M. Haile, G. Senay, B.D. Wardlow, and C. Knutson, 2008. Building integrated drought monitoring and food security systems in sub-Saharan Africa. U.N. Natural Resources Forum, 32(4):303-316.   On-Line
Tadesse, T., D.A. Wilhite, M.J. Hayes, J.F. Brown, and C.L. Knutson, 2006. Modern drought monitoring tool for decision support system. In: Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko and Matti Malkia (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Digital Government, Volume 3, 1212 � 1218.
Brown, J., T. Tadesse, and M. Hayes, 2005. The Role of Remote Sensing in Improving Drought Decision Support. Proceedings of the Pecora Conference, Sioux Falls, SD, October 25.
Tadesse, T., D.A. Wilhite, M.J. Hayes, S.K. Harms, and S. Goddard. 2005. Discovering associations between climatic and oceanic parameters to monitor drought in Nebraska using data-mining techniques. Journal of Climate, 18(10):1541-1550.
Tadesse, T., J.F. Brown, and M.J. Hayes. 2005. A new approach for predicting drought-related vegetation stress: Integrating satellite, climate, and biophysical data over the U.S. central plains. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 59(4):244-253.
Tadesse, T., D.A. Wilhite, S.K. Harms, M.J. Hayes, and S. Goddard. 2004. Drought Monitoring Using Data Mining Techniques: A Case Study for Nebraska, U.S.A. Natural Hazards 33(1):137-159.
Goddard, S., S.K. Harms, S.E. Reichenbach, T. Tadesse, and W.J. Waltman, 2003. Geospatial decision support for drought risk management. Communication of the ACM, Vol. 46, No.1, pp.35-37.
Tadesse, T., 2000. Drought and Its Predictability in Ethiopia. Drought: A Global Assessment, Ed. D.A. Wilhite, Rutledge Hazards and Disaster Series, Vol. 1, 135-143.
Sear, C.B., T. Tadesse, B. Bettany, P. Budgen, V. Copley, and D. Griggs, 1996. The presentation of weather information via the media in Ethiopia, Meteorological Application, 3:295-300.
Ryu, J.H., M.D. Svoboda, J.D. Lenters, T. Tadesse, and C. Knutson, 2010. Finding Potential Extents for ENSO-Driven Hydrologic Drought Forecasts in the United States, Climatic Change, 101:575-597.

Educational Background

  • BS - Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, Physics (1982)
  • MS - International Space University, France, Space Studies/Remote Sensing (1998)
  • PhD - University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Agro-Meteorology (2002)
  • BS - n/a


  • 2010 – Fellow for Center for Great Plains Studies awarded by Center for Great Plains Studies 
  • 2009 – Competent Leader Award for exceptional achievements in the Toastmasters International Leadership Program awarded by Toastmasters International 
  • 2006 – Achievements that Influence the People Today awarded by Marquis Who's Who 
  • 2005 – Outstanding work for Professionals and Executives awarded by Madison Who's Who 
  • 2003 – Best Oral Presentation Award at the 30th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment, International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Honolulu, Hawaii 
  • 1998 – Graduate Assistantship Award awarded by Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

SNR Faculty Area(s)

Affiliations (index)

Professional Organizations

  • American Meteorologic Society
    • Member 2002-Present
  • DesertNet International - European Network for Global Desertification Research
    • Member 2007-Present
  • Ethiopian Meteorological Society
    • Coordinator for North America 
  • International Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) of the Advances in Knowledge Communities and Social Networks (AKCSN) Book Series
    • Member 2006-Present
  • NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Satellite Applications Working Group
    • Member 2009-Present
  • National Geographic Society
    • Member 2002-Present
  • National Phenology Network (NPN) Land Surface Phenology and Remote Sensing Working Group
    • Member 2009-Present

Notable Websites


  • Agroecosystems - Policy/Management
  • Aquatic Ecosystems - Climate
  • Climate - Assessment
  • Climate - Decision-Making
  • Climate - Impacts
  • Climate - Mitigation/Adaptation
  • Climate - Remote Sensing
  • Climate - Variability
  • Climate - Vegetation
  • Drought - Assessment
  • Drought - Decision-Making
  • Drought - Meteorology
  • Drought - Water
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) - Vegetation Indexing
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) - Water Resources
  • Land Use/Land Cover - Remote Sensing
  • Meteorology - Drought
  • Meteorology - Weather
  • Remote Sensing - Climate
  • Remote Sensing - Land Cover
  • Remote Sensing - Vegetation Indexing
  • Remote Sensing - Water Resources
  • Vegetation - Climate
  • Vegetation - Vegetation Indexing
  • Water - Drought
  • Water - Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Weather - Meteorology

Areas of Interest (Keyword)

  • Agriculture and Livestock - Crop Modeling
  • Agriculture and Livestock - Irrigation
  • Agriculture and Livestock - Livestock Production, Water Resources
  • Agroecosystems - Biodiversity
  • Agroecosystems - Climate
  • Agroecosystems - Population Dynamics, Distribution
  • Agroecosystems - Water
  • Biodiversity - Agroecosystems
  • Climate - Drought
  • Climate - Human Dimensions
  • Climate - Microclimate
  • Climate - Modeling
  • Climate - Monitoring
  • Climate - Physical Geography
  • Climate - Policy
  • Climate - Water
  • Climate - Weather
  • Drought - Adaptation
  • Drought - Climate
  • Drought - Impacts
  • Drought - Mitigation
  • Drought - Monitoring
  • Drought - Planning
  • Drought - Policy
  • Drought - Risk Management
  • Education - GIS
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) - Education
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) - Land Use/Land Cover
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) - Remote Sensing
  • Geography - Remote Sensing
  • Humans and the Environment - Climate
  • Hydrology - Modeling
  • Hydrology - Springs
  • Hydrology - Watersheds
  • Land Use/Land Cover - Changes In
  • Land Use/Land Cover - GIS
  • Land Use/Land Cover - Remote Sensing
  • Meteorology - Severe Storms
  • Microclimate
  • Physical Geography - Climate
  • Planning - Drought
  • Population Dynamics, Distribution - Agroecosystems
  • Remote Sensing - Geography
  • Remote Sensing - GIS
  • Remote Sensing - Land Cover
  • Remote Sensing - Monitoring
  • Vegetation - Phenology
  • Water - Agroecosystems
  • Water - Climate
  • Water - Livestock Production, Water
  • Watersheds - Hydrology
  • Weather - Climate
  • Weather - Severe Storms

Other Areas of Interest

My research interests and areas of expertise include drought monitoring, natural resource management, team leadership and development, climate change and variability, human impacts on the environment, remote sensing/GIS, data mining and risk management.

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Rapid Response Drought Monitoring (additional funding)
Starting Date 8/14/2012
Principal Investigators
Brian Wardlow
Brian Fuchs
Mike Hayes
Mark Svoboda
Tsegaye Tadesse
Ending Date 8/13/2016
Funding Level $324,564.00
Funding Source National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Grant Title Vegetation Drought Response
Starting Date 2/21/2013
Principal Investigators
Tsegaye Tadesse
Ending Date 3/28/2013
Funding Level $24,000.00
Funding Source Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Grant Title ET Mapping Over North America
Starting Date 6/22/2012
Principal Investigators
Brian Wardlow
Mark Svoboda
Brian Fuchs
Tsegaye Tadesse
Karin Callahan
Ending Date 6/21/2013
Funding Level $29,144.00
Funding Source University of Maryland

Grant Title Rapid Response Drought Monitoring
Starting Date 8/14/2012
Principal Investigators
Brian Wardlow
Mike Hayes
Mark Svoboda
Tsegaye Tadesse
Ending Date 8/13/2013
Funding Level $121,082.00
Funding Source National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Grant Title FEW NET Drought Monitor in Ethiopia
Starting Date 11/21/2011
Principal Investigators
Tsegaye Tadesse
Bruce Dvorak
Ending Date 2/20/2012
Funding Level $5,755.00
Funding Source US Geological Survey

Grant Title Incorporating Remote Sensing Information into the U.S. Drought Monitor
Starting Date 2/1/2007
Principal Investigators
Mark Svoboda
Brian Wardlow
Tsegaye Tadesse
Ending Date 9/30/2010
Funding Level $54,824.00
Funding Source US Geological Survey


Undergraduate Majors Bachelor of Science in
  • Water Science
Graduate Program(s) Master of Arts with a Specialization in
  • Geographic Information Systems
Master of Science with a Specialization in
  • Agricultural Meteorology
  • Climate Assessment & Impacts
  • Environmental Studies
  • Great Plains Studies
  • Hydrologic Sciences
  • Remote Sensing
Doctor of Philosophy with a Specialization in
  • Agricultural Meteorology
  • Climate Assessment & Impacts
  • Environmental Geography
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Hydrologic Sciences