In a joint effort by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS), and the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC), coverage of the 1-km resolution Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) was expanded from the original seven state region to the entire lower 48. Enhanced analysis features such as weekly change maps and animated time series were also developed.
Understanding drought impacts is crucial for drought planning, mitigation, and response. With support from the Risk Management Agency (RMA), the NDMC has operationalized the U.S. Drought Impact Reporter (DIR) and expanded it to include more diverse information from the media, citizens, CoCoRaHS observers, government entities, and other data collection networks. Additional support for the continued operation and development of the DIR is being provided by NOAA's Transition of Research Applications to Climate Services (TRACS) program.
Researchers in Colorado, Nebraska, and New Mexico combined economic theories and practices together with the applied climate sciences to develop quantitative assessments of drought economic impacts on dairy and pecan production, the rafting industry, and farmers adoption of conservation tillage systems. Additional support for this research was provided by NOAA's Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP).
Drought Monitor Decision Support System
The Drought Monitor Decision Support System (DM-DSS) gives users better access to current and past drought conditions by drilling down to the regional and state level on the U.S. Drought Monitor map. Interactive timeseries graphs and percent area data charts help users understand the spatial and temporal patterns of drought over the last decade. For the advanced user, raw data files and statistics can be downloaded at the national, state, and county level.
Understanding the history of drought in a given area can help producers make better management decisions. The Drought Risk Atlas provides users with a comprehensive, site-specific assessment of the history, frequency, intensity, duration, and patterns of drought in the past century.
Drought Planning Tools for Ranchers
Working with researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, South Dakota State University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and individual ranchers, the NDMC has developed a drought planning process and web-based educational delivery system for forage and rangeland producers. The Managing Risk on the Ranch website provides ranchers with step-by-step guidance for coping with drought before, during, and after it occurs.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Computer Science and Engineering Department, our partner in RMA-sponsored work, applied leading distributed computing research techniques to proven climatic and agronomic research to provide farmers and ranchers with real-time, sub-county resolution, risk assessment and decision support tools which could be utilized with the ease of use associated with common internet search engines.