Improvements in Drought Monitoring and Assessment from the National Integrated Drought Information System

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 8:30 AM
Room C209 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Michael J. Brewer, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC; and R. R. Heim Jr.

Drought is a natural hazard which can cause famine in developing countries and severe economic hardship in developed countries. Given current concerns with the increasing frequency and magnitude of droughts in many regions of the world, especially in the light of expected climate change, drought monitoring and dissemination of early warning information in a timely fashion on a national, regional, and global scale is a critical concern as an important adaptation and mitigation strategy. To that end, the U.S. National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) has put together a set of drought portals at the U.S., North America, and Global levels for the provision of drought products and services. These portals have wide-ranging international collaboration including the World Meteorological Organization and the Group on Earth Observations.

The primary goal for the drought portal clearinghouses is the provision of partner data and information through a common web interface. A second goal is to augment the suite of products currently available at all scales. This means developing and providing new drought indicators or drought indicators built on new and improved data sources. This paper will highlight both (1) the portals' collaboration across partners at all levels and (2) several new drought indicators and processes. The indicators discussion will highlight new Palmer Drought Indices (including the self-calibrating Palmer), Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), and Precipitation Percentiles (PCP), built for the contiguous U.S. based on a high density grid of observed temperature and precipitation and aggregated to numerous spatial scales including counties, climate divisions, river basins, and states. Likewise, new processing of SPI and PCP for the world, leveraging Global Precipitation Climatology Centre precipitation data in order to take over operations from the University College of London's Drought Monitor Program, and new processing of indicators supporting the North American Drought Monitor will be presented. Lastly, a new Floating Month Drought Index and a Living Blended Paleo Drought Index nearing operations at the National Climatic Data Center, the home of the drought portals, will be reviewed.