89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009
Canadian Drought Alert and Monitoring Program (CDAMP)
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
Don MacIver, EC, Toronto, ON, Canada; and N. Comer, S. Fernandez, B. Wang, H. Auld, and J. Klaassen
Drought has an assortment of complex definitions depending on different sectors and issues. In this presentation, drought is defined as precipitation deficiencies caused by persistently below-normal precipitation. Drought can be very localized and have a considerable impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region. Although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage and harm the local economy. Under climate change, scientists project more frequent and intense droughts. Additional stressors such as population growth and land use changes contribute to increases in the vulnerability to drought under climate change.

The Canadian Drought Alert and Monitoring Program (CDAMP) was developed by the Adaptation and Impacts Research Division of Environment Canada with assistance from China to help the individual homeowner self-monitor and evaluate their current drought status. This web-based self-analysis tool can be used for drought evaluation through the use of simple precipitation measurement and tracking. CDAMP compares the daily changes of rainfall to critical thresholds to help detect, characterize, and monitor changing atmospheric water availability. If the rainfall values are below an indicated level then a declaration of drought can be directly linked with mandated response actions, including outdoor watering restrictions and fire bans. CDAMP indicators highlight four dry levels of rainfall deficiency; Code Yellow, Code Orange; Code Red and Code Black, with Code Black being the most severe level of drought.

This program will help individuals and communities analyze the severity of their current rainfall deficiency compared to historical records and adapt accordingly. The project assessed other drought monitoring techniques to determine their usefulness in monitoring drought related conditions and in providing guidance to potential response actions as the level of low water availability and drought severity increases. The potential use of CDAMP at the individual and community scales to assess current and projected drought risks is discussed.

Supplementary URL: