123 What Do You Really Know about the U.S. Drought Monitor?

Monday, 7 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Deborah J. Bathke, Univ. of Nebraska—Lincoln, Lincoln, NE; and B. Fuchs, M. D. Svoboda, and T. K. Bernadt

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a weekly map of drought conditions that is produced jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Often considered the gold standard in drought monitoring, this tool has been adopted by many sectors including journalists communicating drought information, fire fighters mapping out areas of potential fire danger, policy makers informing decisions about drought response and relief actions, and land managers proactively managing for drought conditions. Additionally, the USDM is the primary tool used in the past two Farm Bills for determining drought response and relief actions resulting in the distribution of billions of dollars in aid based on the map’s depiction. Despite this, many misconceptions and concerns exist about the map development process. To answer the main questions and concerns about the map production, the data used to determine the drought intensity levels, and the USDM influence on policy, the National Drought Mitigation Center developed a series of interactive web-based tutorials using feedback from the USDM authors on their most frequently asked questions. Session attendees will be among the first to try out the completed tutorials.
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