Maps showing where and how much drought has changed became part of the suite of automatically generated weekly U.S. Drought Monitor information as of December 2013.
“We wanted to be able to automate the process,” said Mark Svoboda, NDMC Monitoring Program area leader. “It’s generated now with the weekly stats.”
Change maps are part of the U.S. Drought Monitor website now -- http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DataArchive/ChangeMaps.aspx. They show areas getting worse (“degradations”) in shades of tan and brown, and improvements in shades of blue green. Change maps compare U.S. Drought Monitor status for any week with maps from 1, 4, 8, 12, 24 and 52 weeks ago, as well as with the map from the start of the calendar year and the start of the water year.
“This is of huge benefit to decision-makers,” said Michael J. Hayes, NDMC director.
The NDMC added the maps as an enhancement to the U.S. Drought Monitor website as part of its mission in support of the National Integrated Drought Information System. “The feedback so far has been resoundingly positive,” Svoboda said.
-- Kelly Helm Smith, National Drought Mitigation Center