National Drought Mitigation Center


Drought Center develops social media resources to help encourage drought monitoring

November 9, 2020

The National Drought Mitigation Center has created a social media library section on its website with a collection of ready-to-post content that can help you recruit more eyes on the ground to help build photo archives showing what dry, normal and wet conditions look like in different places.

Ready-to-post content in a new social media library canhelp you recruit more eyes on the ground to help build photo archives showing what dry, normal and wet conditions look like in different places.

The National Drought Mitigation Center developed the social media library to help National Weather Service, Extension,state climatologists and others across the country publicize opportunities for the public to submit photos.Landscape photos from the public help the drought center and its federal, state and regional partners assess drought conditions in different locations.

The drought center is currently promoting two different ways to collect photos: The Visual Drought Atlas (VDA) and Drought Impact ReporterCondition Monitoring ObserverReports (CMOR, pronounced “see more”).

Find social media content to promote VDAand CMOR submissions at

Asking the public to submit photos can produce more spatially dense information, which benefits U.S. Drought Monitor authors, policy makers and researchers looking for visual confirmation of what conditions at a specific place and time, said Kelly Helm Smith, who is spearheading the NDMC’s photo collection efforts. It’s also a chance for farmers, ranchers and others to show what they are seeing and experiencing.

“Denser information means there may be aphoto from your county, rather than from a few counties over,” said Smith, the NDMC’s assistant director and communications coordinator. “That can helpin a lot of ways, including when we are trying to understand what’s normal for a certain place, and when you want to show others what it looks like on your farm or ranch.”

The social media resources overlay examples of questions from the user-friendly VDA and CMOR with images that show drought and additional conditions that might spur people to submit photos or reports. A goal of the campaign, Smith said, is to help people understand that drought varies significantly across regions. Just because a yard doesn’t have cracked earth doesn’t mean it can’t help tell the story of drought conditions across the U.S.

Several of the promotional images feature photos submitted to the Visual Drought Atlas. Along with the downloadable images, there are also suggested text to post on social media. It’s all under 280 characters and ready to be tweeted. 

Smith said that images can be submitted to the Visual Drought Atlas all year round, but NDMC staff promotes seasonal submissions that fall on four long weekends across the seasons — President’s Day, The Fourth of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. CMOR reports help the NDMCteam understand how dry, wet and normal conditions affect different activities across the country. Anyone can submit a CMOR report at any time of the year.

The Social Media Resources page will be updated over time. When tweeting the images, don’t forget to tag @DroughtCenter too.