J3.4 Update on the NIDIS Drought Early Warning Information System for Coastal Ecosystems in the Carolinas

Thursday, 12 June 2014: 2:15 PM
Salon A-B (Denver Marriott Westminster)
Lisa S. Darby, NOAA, Boulder, CO; and A. Brennan, P. Conrads, D. L. Tufford, K. Dow, K. Lackstrom, R. Pulwarty, R. S. Webb, and C. McNutt

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) is in the process of developing drought early warning systems in areas of the U.S. where the coordination of drought information is critically needed. These regional drought early warning systems will become the backbone of a national drought early warning information system. Plans for the first drought early warning system started in the fall of 2008 in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB), with an initial focus on the water supply in the head waters region of the Colorado River and the impacts of changes in the water supply on the UCRB. Since the establishment of the UCRB drought early warning system, other regional programs have begun in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, four regions in the state of California, the Southern Plains, and the Four Corners region. (At this time these are considered pilot drought early warning programs, not full-fledged drought early warning systems such as the UCRB.) Activities in each of these regions are tailored to the needs of stakeholders, and all incorporate hydrometeorological predictions. However, in all of these areas NIDIS has not focused on the specific needs of coastal ecosystems during times of drought.

Over the past year, NIDIS has started a pilot drought early warning system that addresses drought in the coastal ecosystems of North and South Carolina. This pilot is being developed in partnership with the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA), a NOAA Regional Sciences and Assessments program housed at the University of South Carolina. Currently the focus of the Carolinas pilot includes the promotion of enhanced drought impact reporting to better understand the impacts of low flows on coastal ecosystems and the development of a USGS real-time salinity network for a few coastal gage stations in the Carolinas. The roles of the enhanced drought impact assessments in coastal ecosystems and the knowledge gained from a real-time salinity index in drought early warning will be presented.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner