The US Drought Monitor Forum was held in Austin, TX. There was a Drought Monitor panel at the end of the day Wednesday. At that time the main research needs that the authors identified were more data on soil moisture, more consideration of whether there should be two maps to reflect the long and short term conditions, correlations of drought impacts with drought status, more timely GIS input and how to account for varied topography such as the mountainous areas of the West.
Kelly Redmond spoke about Musings, Metaphors, and Moving Forward. Much of that discussion centered around the impossibility of reducing the full complexity of drought at different time scales and for different communities to a two-dimensional map. Despite the difficulty of the task, Redmond underscored the importance of giving stakeholders what they need, namely, a map, ideally reflecting conditions at the fine scales that users are requesting. He also underscored the value of professional judgment: "Objective does not mean strictly numerical. It means rigorous."