5A.4 The global drought monitor portal—a climate information and decision support tool with global applications

Tuesday, 19 July 2011: 2:15 PM
Salon A (Asheville Renaissance)
Richard R. Heim Jr., NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC; and M. J. Brewer, W. Pozzi, D. Cripe, and J. Sheffield

Drought is a natural hazard which has plagued civilization for millennia. It has weakened and even caused the collapse of early cultures and, even today, causes famine in developing countries and severe economic hardship in developed countries. Given current concerns with the increasing frequency and magnitude of droughts in many regions of the world, especially in the light of expected climate change, drought monitoring and dissemination of early warning information in a timely fashion on a global scale is a critical concern as an important adaptation and mitigation strategy. Drought monitoring, assessment, response, mitigation, adaptation, and early warning systems have been created in a number of countries around the world, and some regional and continental efforts have been successful, but a global drought early warning system (GDEWS) remains elusive. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) U.S. Drought Portal is a web-based information system created to address drought services and early warning in the United States, including drought monitoring, forecasting, impacts, mitigation, research, and education. It was recognized at the April 2010 Global Drought Assessment Workshop (GDAW) that the creation of a Global Drought Monitoring web portal (GDMP) as a clearinghouse for global drought information would be highly beneficial, but neither the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) nor Group on Earth Observations (GEO) has the resources to provide such a program (GEO does not directly support programs but relies upon donated program implementations from GEO members). The managers of the NIDIS portal agreed to develop a prototype GDMP. The GDMP is made interoperable with the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) by utilizing Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Mapping Services (WMS) and other web services to exchange drought maps (and other information) among existing continental and regional drought monitoring efforts, including the North American Drought Monitor (which provides coverage for North America, including Canada, USA, and Mexico), the European Drought Observatory (which provides coverage for the European continental region), and the Princeton University African Drought Monitor (which provides African continental coverage). The Republic of Argentina is a full member and is currently being integrated into the GDMP, and the Commonwealth of Australia is also in the process of having portions of the Australia Water Availability Project being incorporated into the GDMP. The GDMP will provide global coverage of drought indicators computed using a standard methodology, such as the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) (at time scales corresponding to meteorological and hydrological drought) computed from Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) in situ data, but additional drought indicators, such as hydrological drought indicators, are in the process of being deployed, as well as satellite-observed and modeled soil moisture (for agricultural drought). In addition, the OGC and other web services will empower the GDMP with a drill down capability providing access to the regional and continental assessments, national drought products, and local drought analyses produced within the participating countries. This paper will discuss the creation of the GDMP, its functionality, and its utility as a global-scale adaptation and mitigation decision-support tool to help reduce losses and vulnerabilities due to drought.
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