Tuesday, October 25, 2016

National Drought Mitigation Center

NDMC's International Activities


  • Mark Svoboda, Brian Fuchs, and Chris Poulsen attended a Caribbean drought early warning and planning workshop in Barbados, January 21-24, 2015. They presented information on aspects of drought monitoring and planning and led a hands-on session. The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology hosted the workshop, with sponsorship from the World Meteorological Organization and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • Mark Svoboda was a presenter and panelist at the European Union’s International Conference on Drought: Research and Science-Policy Interfacing, March 10-13, 2015, in Valencia, Spain. The conference concluded a three-year effort to enhance understanding of drought.
  • Mark Svoboda traveled to Rabat, Morocco, in late February 2015 to participate in a workshop for stakeholders from Moroccan ministries and other countries in the Middle East-North Africa region on the recently developed Moroccan Composite Drought Index (MCDI). The NDMC provided technical assistance for the development of the MCDI. The new index is one of the world’s first drought early warning systems that integrates several remotely sensed datasets from NASA and other U.S. agencies into a composite agricultural drought indicator.
  • Brian Fuchs traveled to Recife, Brazil, March 31-April 1, 2015, to help with training sessions for Monitor de Secas do Nordeste (Northeast Drought Monitor) map authors and validators. The Northeast Drought Monitor, a compound drought index similar to the U.S. Drought Monitor, is the result of a two-year World Bank project that included training and advice from the National Drought Mitigation Center.
  • The NDMC hosted scientists from the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in July 2015. The scientists were interested in observing the production of the U.S. Drought Monitor, in part because of the USDM’s high profile with policy makers and the media. The NDMC had previously partnered with CIMH on drought monitoring and early warning, impacts, and planning.
  • Tsegaye Tadesse, Nicole Wall, and Tonya Haigh organized and hosted a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015 as part of the NDMC’s NASA project, "Seasonal Prediction of Hydro-Climatic Extremes in the Greater Horn of Africa under Evolving Climate Conditions to Support Adaptation Strategies." NDMC graduate student Andualem Shiferaw also attended.


  • Mark Svoboda and Cody Knutson traveled to Germany in January for the kick-off of the DrIVER project, sponsored by the Belmont Forum.
  • Mark Svoboda traveled to Brazil in January as part of a World Bank-sponsored project to help develop a monitoring product for that country similar to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the NDMC hosted visitors from Brazil in March. In August, Svoboda traveled to Brazil for a World Bank training, and Hayes traveled to Brazil as an expert visitor for the Permanent Forum on Drought Initiatives in the state of Pernambuco.
  • Mark Svoboda and Chris Poulson, NDMC geospatial analyst, also traveled to Rabat, Morocco, May 20-22, as part of a World Bank effort to establish drought monitoring in that country. Under the leadership of the Centre Royal de Teledetection Spatiale (Royal Center for Remote Sensing), that country is developing a composite drought index.
  • Brian Fuchs gave a presentation about the NDMC, “Bringing Science to the Citizens,” at the SWAN conference, June 9-11 in Seville, Spain. SWAN is a joint European Union-United States project, creating a joint water research center.
  • The North American Drought Monitor Forum, June 17-19, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was the most recent bi-annual chance for scientists, stakeholders and contributors to confer on advancing the continent-wide product. Impacts and networking emerged as notable themes, said Mark Svoboda, NDMC climatologist and head of the NDMC’s monitoring program area. Svoboda presented on the NDMC’s Drought Impact Reporter and Drought Risk Atlas, and Tsegaye Tadesse made a presentation on the Canadian Vegetation Drought Response Index Pilot Study.
  • Mike Hayes was one of the co-organizers of the InterDrought Summer School held in Mikoluv, Czech Republic, July 1-4. InterDrought is a European Union-funded project to help Czech scientists foster interdisciplinary drought research and train young researchers. The NDMC has a long-time collaboration with Czech drought researchers. This partnership was especially fruitful in 2014. The Czech Republic experienced a drought, and Czechs used the InterDrought website weekly to track current drought conditions, much as the U.S. Drought Monitor product is used.  Both agricultural producers and the media were following the InterDrought website, which generated significant attention and provided a focus for drought-related communication in the country.  Much of the progress in the Czech Republic has resulted from the NDMC partnership with scientists at Mendel University in Brno.
  • Mike Hayes, climatologist and director of the NDMC, traveled to the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, in August as a visiting expert. Hayes gave two talks on drought planning, one to the Permanent Forum for Drought Initiatives, and another to a general audience that included academics, officials, and the general public.
  • Mark Svoboda traveled to the state of Ceara in northeastern Brazil in August to serve as a consultant for an ongoing World Bank project to establish an operational drought monitoring product for northeast Brazil. Svoboda, NDMC climatologist Brian Fuchs, and NDMC geospatial analyst Chris Poulsen have worked with Brazilian researchers since January to develop a drought monitoring process and product like the U.S. Drought Monitor. Brazilian scientists visited Lincoln, Nebraska, in March to observe the making of the U.S. Drought Monitor map.
  • Mark Svoboda, Brian Fuchs and others at the NDMC were working to establish a drought monitor prototype for the nine northeastern states in Brazil, with funding from the World Bank.
  • Tsegaye Tadesse, NDMC climatologist, is leading a NASA-funded project, Seasonal Prediction of Hydro-Climatic Extremes in the Greater Horn of Africa under Evolving Climate Conditions to Support Adaptation Strategies. It began in January 2014. A kickoff meeting was held in Addis Ababa in August 2014.
  • Mike Hayes and Mark Svoboda attended the International Global Drought Information System (GDIS) Workshop in Pasadena, California, December 11-13, to discuss next steps in coordinating global and regional information on drought understanding, monitoring, forecasting and management.


  • Cody Knutson traveled to Turkey in November to help lead a United Nations-sponsored workshop on drought planning for Central Asian countries.
  • The NDMC is hosting visiting scholar Cristina Domingo-Morimon of the Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain, April 15-July 31.
  • The third day of this year's U.S. Drought Monitor Forum focused on working with colleagues from islands in the Caribbean and Pacific on implementing drought monitoring for their areas.
  • Mike Hayes, director of the NDMC, is working with colleagues based at Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, in May and June. Hayes is helping scientists there implement a drought early warning system.
  • Tsegaye Tadesse, NDMC climatologist and remote sensing expert, and Jesslyn Brown, EROS geographer, traveled to Mexico City in April 2013 to work with Mexico’s Agricultural and Fisheries Information Service on how Mexico can implement its own version of VegDRI and to present at the XIII Agricultural Outlook Forum 2013.
  • Several people associated with the NDMC were involved in the High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy in Geneva, Switzerland, in March 2013. Sponsoring U.N. organizations were the World Meteorological Organization, the Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Food and Agricultural Organization. Country representatives unanimously acclaimed a declaration encouraging countries to develop and implement national drought policies. The NDMC's role was reported in DroughtScape. The meeting also had an extensive website.


  • The NDMC is involved in two major projects in central Europe: InterDrought with the Czech scientists at Mendel University in Brno, and a newly-funded project with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria, to develop a drought monitoring system for agriculture. A Czech delegation visited the NDMC for a week in December.
  • A UNL delegation to India in November included, from left to right, Derek Heeren, BSE; Marc Andreini, Water for Food; Harkamal Walia, Agronomy; Roberto Lenton, Water for Food; and Mike Hayes, National Drought Mitigation Center.
  • Mike Hayes was part of a UNL group visiting the Indian Agricultural Research Institute Water Technology Center in November to help develop a research agenda and Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Mark Svoboda is on the organizing committee for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Center’s International Conference on Climate, Water and Policy (ICCWP) 2012, which will be Sept. 11-13, Busan, South Korea.
  • Tsegaye Tadesse, NDMC climatologist and remote sensing expert, spent a month in Ethiopia in summer 2012 advancing several collaborative projects related to food and water on behalf of an interdisciplinary team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. .
  • June 1-9, Mike Hayes, Mark Svoboda and Don Wilhite participated in “Drought Monitoring, Assessing and Planning under Global Climate Change,” a workshop at Beijing Normal University. They also visited the Department of Water Hazard Research at the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, the Beijing Climate Centre at the Chinese Meteorological Academy, the Center for Rural Environmental Social Studies, and the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
  • Mike Hayes is on the Scientific Advisory Board for a large climate change-related project taking place in the Czech Republic called CzechGlobe, and attended the board's first meeting May 14-15, in Mikulov.
  • Mark Svoboda and Brian Fuchs helped conduct a drought monitoring, early warning and information system training workshop for the Caribbean, the week of May 21 in Jamaica.
  • Mark Svoboda, Brian Fuchs and Brian Wardlow participated in the North American Drought Monitor Forum, April 18-20 in Cancun, Mexico.
  • Mike Hayes helped organize the Global Drought Information System Workshop in Frascati, Italy, April 11-13. Don Wilhite, founding director of the NDMC, gave a keynote presentation. Mark Svoboda and Brian Fuchs both presented posters.
  • Mark Svoboda is an invited External Advisory Board member for the European Union's project "Fostering European Drought Research and Science-Policy Interfacing (Drought R&SPI),” which met March 27-30 in Valencia, Spain.
  • Lin Zhao, a visiting scholar from the Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management at Beijing Normal University, found that streamflow drought lagged meteorological drought by about 112 days in the Jinghe River Basin.meteorological drought by about 112 days in the Jinghe River Basin.
  • Getachew Berhan Demisse, a visiting scholar at the NDMC from August 2011 through February 2012, returned to Ethiopia to demonstrate his method for predicting drought up to four months ahead.
  • In August 2011 Meixiu Yu began a year as a visiting scientist at the NDMC. She is working on a Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources at Hohai University in China, and is particularly interested in drought monitoring and indices.


  • Cody Knutson traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to help the United National Development Programme Drylands Development Centre assess its Africa-Asia Drought Risk Management Peer Assistance Project, June 14-15.
  • The World Meteorological Organization published Towards A Compendium on National Drought Policy, co-edited by Donald A. Wilhite, founding director of the National Drought Mitigation Center. The volume is the proceedings of an expert meeting that was July 14-15, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
  • The Canadian Invitational Drought Tournament in February 2011 introduced a competitive element to traditional scenario planning.


  • NDMC representatives traveled to Argentina in October 2010 for the Argentine Congress of Animal Production and to advise the Patagonian region on setting up an agricultural drought monitoring system.
  • NDMC climatologist Tsegaye Tadesse is part of an interdisciplinary team that includes social and biological scientists working with communities in Ethiopia on food security.

Other NDMC International Activities Through 2010

NDMC Near East Activities, 2006-2011

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