13th Conference on Applied Climatology and the 10th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology

Wednesday, 15 May 2002: 8:15 AM
Monitoring droughts with improved drought index resolution
Michael J. Hayes, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and M. D. Svoboda, W. J. Waltman, S. Goddard, and K. G. Hubbard
Poster PDF (224.4 kB)
The Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), and more recently the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), have been widely used in monitoring drought in the United States. Both indices have characteristic strengths and weaknesses. One common weakness is that these indices are mapped at a spatial resolution represented by climate divisions. The SPI has been further limited to monthly calculations. For the first time, scientists at the University of Nebraska (UNL), the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), and the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) have developed codes to calculate and plot both the SPI and PDSI on a weekly basis for stations in the Great Plains. For the PDSI, the calculations are based on the unique soil characteristics of each station; this had not been attempted before on a regional scale. The advancement this represents will considerably improve drought monitoring efforts by providing timely SPI and PDSI data at a better spatial resolution. The indices are now being used to develop decision support tools for USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) for drought-related exposure analyses involving crop insurance issues across the United States. In addition, an interactive website is being developed that will allow users to choose the index, period, stations, and data presentation appropriate for their desired application.

Supplementary URL: http://nadss.unl.edu