Are You Sick of the Drought Yet?

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Thursday, 6 February 2014: 11:00 AM
Room C107 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Mark A. Shafer, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman, OK

We've been talking about the Southern Plains drought for 3 years now. What is left to be said? Plenty! Over the past three years, a number of climate service providers have engaged stakeholder communities in everything ranging from short-term forecasts to long-term planning. Organizations including the National Drought Mitigation Center, NOAA's Regional Climate Services Directors, the National Integrated Drought Information System, NOAA's Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment Teams, and State Climatologists have provided a range of services, convened numerous forums, and conducted dozens of webinars and briefings. This presentation will tie together all these organizations and efforts to show how the unique capacities for each were essential in developing an aggressive response to the drought.

Lessons learned from engagement included: agencies need to facilitate the use of information, not just provide that information; stakeholders were more interested in explanations and science than in management advice; predictions are of most value to stakeholders; uses of multiple technologies allows providers to reach the widest possible audience; discussions with stakeholders initiated new research projects; better alignment of impacts and indicators is needed; and a balance needs to be struck between covering too large or too small an area. This engagement has been a process more than a product. Providers and stakeholders both learned from experience along the way and through iteration improved the information provided and illuminated the context in which decisions were made.