Monitoring and Forecasting Drought in the Southeast USA: Projects of the Southeast Climate Consortium

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010: 4:15 PM
B213 (GWCC)
Keith T. Ingram, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and C. W. Fraisse, C. J. Martinez, J. W. Jones, J. J. O'Brien, J. R. Christy, G. Hoogenboom, P. Srivastava, and D. Letson

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the southeast USA experienced several multi-year droughts that were nearly region wide. In addition, there were numerous localized droughts. The Southeast Climate Consortium (SECC) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-state, multi-institution team of scientists who collaborate in an effort to provide relevant, timely, valuable information to decision makers in the southeast USA. The SECC currently has several projects and products to provide drought information: 1) The Alabama State Climatologist produces daily maps of water status for the region at a 4 km 4 km grid based on a lawn and garden moisture index (LGMI), which uses precipitation measured by Doppler; 2) We have developed a forecast of the LGMI based on ENSO phase, which is presented with county-level maps that are updated every 10 days; 3) in addition to county level maps, we produce graphs that show daily historic values of LGMI for a given automatic weather station along with a 30-day cone of probability forecast; 4) a more recent project is monitoring moisture conditions in pastures and testing new indices that quantify the relationship between drought and productivity; 5) another on-going project is being conducted in collaboration with Tampa Bay Water (TBW), a water provider to several counties and municipalities in the Tampa Bay area. This project aims to incorporate climate forecasts into TBW strategies for optimizing water costs and minimizing adverse environmental impacts; 6) A new projects is being conducted with the municipal water providers of Auburn, AL and Griffin, GA to develop drought indices that are suitable for their use. As drought products become mature, they are disseminated through AgroClimate.org, our on-line decision support system. We are also working closely with NIDIS to support a pilot site in the southeast USA.