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

Monday, 13 May 2002
A Geospatial Decision Support System for Drought and Crop Risk Analysis in Nebraska
William J. Waltman, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and M. D. Svoboda, M. J. Hayes, J. S. Peake, T. Tadesse, S. Goddard, and S. E. Reichenbach
Drought is the dominant process responsible for crop losses across the U.S. With the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000, there is a need for new geospatial decision support tools to address agricultural drought hazards and identify regions of vulnerability. Risk assessment and vulnerability mapping are complex processes that involve the discovery of patterns in crop management, phenology and genetics, weather events and climatic indices and soil characteristics, as well as data retrieval, constraint databases, visualization, and geospatial analysis. Through an NSF-sponsored grant, the primary objectives of this research project were to develop a decision support system for drought mitigation and geospatial exposure analysis tools that will enhance drought risk assessment. The project integrates multiple biophysical and agricultural statistics databases to develop an automated approach for defining high/low risk regions and potential impacts. The USDA Risk Management Agency and the National Drought Mitigation Center will have an integrated system for mapping drought indices and vulnerability for contemporary events, in relation to the agricultural infrastructure at the farm, county, watershed, congressional district, natural resource district, tribal lands, and ecological region scales. The Drought Decision Support System draws upon weather data from the High Plains Regional Climate Center, the NRCS's soil geography databases, historical crop yield and acreage data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Multi-Resolution Land Cover Characterization (EROS Data Center), and RMA's Policy Database (crop loss). The historical crop yields and acreage harvested of crops were compared to drought events through time to describe the spatial patterns, trends and adaptations of farmers, and changes in agroecology. The Standardized Precipitation Index, Palmer Drought Severity Index, and Newhall Simulation Model provided the drought indices for the exposure analysis.

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