Want to be part of the official conversation about the location and effects of #drought in the United States? Tweet photos and observations using #drought18, letting us know how drought is affecting you, and be sure that the location in your user profile is up-to-date.
The National Drought Mitigation Center is monitoring #drought18 and related hashtags to gather information about the location, intensity and effects of drought. That information can help the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor make the map each week.
In 2017, at least one drought observer in the northern Plains noted that information on Twitter was sometimes the first indication that fields were dry, and shortly thereafter, farmers, ranchers and others began using #drought17 to describe how drought was affecting their operations.
“I don’t think we have even touched the surface of using social media to better inform us,” said Brian Fuchs, a U.S. Drought Monitor author and drought center climatologist. “This is something we can do more systematically and promote. We can give people an opportunity to relay information about drought conditions, and let them know we’ll be looking for it.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor map is widely used across the nation as a large-scale assessment of drought location and intensity, and is the basis for allocating payments under the Livestock Forage Disaster Relief program. The map is based on measurable data, including precipitation, temperature, streamflow and snowpack, as well as observations of drought impacts gathered from a variety of sources. The drought center, based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, hosts and maintains the U.S. Drought Monitor website and associated data.
Fuchs cautioned that more reports about drought impacts does not automatically translate into a change on the map, but, he said, as a U.S. Drought Monitor author, “It guides my eyes to where I should be looking deeper into the data.”
Besides tweeting, you can contribute photos and observations about drought via the Submit A Report tab on the Drought Impact Reporter, or by becoming a CoCoRaHS observer.
-- NDMC Communications