11A.2 Toward Data-Intensive Drought Monitoring and Predictions to Mitigate Drought Impacts in the 21 Century

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 4:15 PM
Ballroom B (Austin Convention Center)
Jae H. Ryu, University of Idaho, Boise, ID; and M. Sohrabi and A. Acharya

Uncertain climate and frequent drought continue to threaten the sustainability of regional water resources in the United States. Climate change, urbanization, and subsequent drought brought about by changes in water availability and timing, emphasize the need for decision makers to develop proactive adaptive management strategies to mitigate economic losses. Drought, in particular, produces a complex sequence of intertwined impacts, ranging from direct impacts to concerns over long-term sustainability in rural communities. Yet, no universal solution exists to mitigate impacts because drought is evaluated using many different criteria, including geophysical characteristics and the use to which water is being placed. Although tremendous efforts have been made to evaluate drought to offer water resource decision making at national, regional, and local scales, still drought claim significant economic losses. The historic Texas drought in 2011, for example, showed broad impacts on agricultural sectors and other food business, at nearly a record $5.2 billion in economic losses. Perhaps, one possible reason for such huge losses is related to proper representation of drought information at local level so that the end users can benefit from realistic drought states for the drought evolution at higher resolution, such as county level and even land parcel. As such, this research attempts to visualize drought conditions by means of widely used drought indices, including the standardized precipitation index (SPI), Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), and hydrologic drought index (HDI) in higher spatial resolution (12 km by 12 km) and compare them to the currently available drought information at reliable outlets, such as NOAA. Additionally, future drought outlook associated with climate change and variability will be demonstrated to assess the likelihood of drought in the state of Idaho over the next few decades.
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