92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 4:00 PM
Spatial Patterns of Drought Inidicators and Triggers
Room 350/351 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Joseph P. Robine, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and D. J. Bathke, M. D. Svoboda, J. Nothwehr, C. J. Bergman, N. A. Wall, T. K. Bernadt, and M. J. Hayes

Drought is a recurring phenomenon with widespread economic, social, and environmental impacts. Unlike other disasters, droughts are widespread and develop slowly overtime making it difficult to detect its onset and monitor its severity and impacts. To monitor the onset, spatial extent, and magnitude of a drought, drought managers use indicators and triggers which are meteorological or hydrological variables or indices that quantify the level of drought and may initiate management and response actions. Because droughts do not stop at political boundaries, an awareness of the triggers and indicators being used by neighboring states may help drought managers coordinate management and communication activities. For this project, a database form was created from all currently available state drought plans. The database can be used to identify the indicators and triggers used whether the plan is mitigation or response based, and the state drought contact. This information was then analyzed using ArcGIS software to map the types and numbers of indicators and triggers used by each state. Results show that some spatial patterns exist and that the indicator or trigger is not necessarily appropriate for the geographic location in which it is being used. Additionally, wide variability exists among the number of indicators and triggers used by each state.

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