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New form helps “see more” drought

February 27, 2020

The CMOR Drought form for 2020 launched in early January. Find the new form and interactive maps of observations at go.unl.edu/cmor_drought, or go directly to the 2020 survey at go.unl.edu/CMOR_drought_2020.

The National Drought Mitigation Center launched the 2020 edition of the CMOR Drought (“see more drought”) form in early January to collect drought Condition Monitoring Observation Reports. Find the a link to the latest form as well as the interactive maps of observations at go.unl.edu/cmor_drought, or go directly to the mobile-friendly 2020 survey by clicking go.unl.edu/CMOR_drought_2020. (The CMOR Drought form replaced the user reports in the Drought Impact Reporter in 2019, making use of ESRI’s Survey123 technology.)

So, what’s new for 2020? 

More sectors and more distinctions. We’ve added sections for forestry, household, community hydropower, spawning and freshwater fish (now separate from wildlife), and municipal water supply. 

The experience questions. In an effort to frame observations in a way that’s similar to the U.S. Drought Monitor classification scheme, we’re now asking how many years’ experience people have, and how many times in the past they have seen it this way. This puts observations in context such as one in 10 or one in 20 years. (Thanks to John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist, for the idea.)

More inclusive language. Instead of “counties,” we now refer to “local jurisdictions,” which better accommodates the spectrum of governance systems from Alaska to Puerto Rico. 

More maps. The first view is still based on the seven-point dry-to-wet scale pioneered by the Carolinas Integrated Sciences Assessment and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). The Experience tab maps responses by the experience question. We currently have tabs and maps for the Crops, Livestock, Household and Community Hydropower sectors. Links from these sector-based maps go to sector-specific impact maps, pulling out some of the ones that people have identified as particularly important, such as dry pastures and dry wells. We plan to add sector and impact maps as needed. We’ll also add the popular photos-only tab, showing which observations have photos, as we start to get photos.

An identification code. We are experimenting with collecting reports from trusted or expert observers alongside the crowd of crowdsourcing, to compare results. If you are involved in drought response in an official capacity in your state and would like to make use of this expert code, please email Kelly at the address below. 

For more information or to request a presentation, please contact Kelly Helm Smith, ksmith2@unl.edu

This project is supported by the National Integrated Drought Information System and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

- NDMC Communications