617 Developing a Framework of Multisector Drought Impacts State By State

Tuesday, 8 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Mary Noel, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE; and D. J. Bathke, T. Haigh, K. H. Smith, M. Svoboda, and M. Hayes

Databases like the Drought Impact Reporter (DIR) and the European Drought Impact Report Inventory contain an extensive collection of observed multi-sector drought impacts across spatial and temporal scales. These real-time, public accounts contain valuable information to aid in a variety of outreach platforms such as developing drought planning and preparedness, identifying vulnerable communities or even short-term assessments of drought events in a changing climate. However, the integration of qualitative drought impacts with commonly used drought indicators and monitoring methods is underutilized. Here, we developed a concise table of probable drought impacts at the state level by linking the qualitative impacts chronicled on the DIR and historic drought severity recorded by the United States Drought Monitor (USDM), a widely-used monitoring tool. For each state examined, media and user accounts reported in six sectors affected by drought were analyzed during the onset of a drought event in that state. Initial presentations and surveys of the impact classification tables have been administered to several drought groups including the USDM Authors. Feedback responses indicate the impact tables do reflect the effects experienced on the ground during a drought event in the states evaluated. This exploration involves not only creating a state-by-state classification schema for all fifty states, but also details a methodology so it can be replicated for other drought events, at varying spatial scales, or stages of drought to better understand the circumstantial relationship of drought impacts connected with drought severity. While the DIR is not a perfect representation of drought impacts, this study highlights the feasibility of its use to accurately predict drought impacts unique to a state and the need to connect impacts to commonly used monitoring tools to expand our understanding of community resilience to drought and its ability to inform decision makers.
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