The NOAA MAPP Drought Task Force Capability Assessment Protocol
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Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
NOAA's Drought Task Force (DTF) was established in October 2011 with the goal of achieving significant new advances in the ability to understand, monitor and predict drought over North America. The Task Force is an initiative of NOAA's Climate Program Office Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program in partnership with NIDIS. It brings together over thirty-five leading drought scientists, primarily but not exclusively MAPP-funded, from multiple academic and federal institutions, and representatives of drought-focused centers. A major thrust of the DTF was to develop a drought test-bed framework that individual research groups can use to develop and evaluate methods and ideas. This framework has centered on (a) assessing four high-profile North American droughts as case studies, (b) defining metrics to assess the success of monitoring and prediction research, and (c) facilitating movement toward operational drought information systems that incorporate and assess recent advances. More recently, a Research-to-Capability (RtC) activity has been initiated as part of the DTF with the goal of assessing recent progress in drought monitoring and prediction, with an eye towards advancing operational and service capabilities, building on the metrics and case studies framework
To further guide the assessment of drought research, the DTF has now proposed a drought capability research assessment that can serve as a reference for the groups that will engage in the DTF RtC activity and for drought researchers beyond the DTF effort. Using the common protocol, scientists should be able to provide quantitative answers to the basic question: Is my research effort improving upon current capabilities to monitor or predict drought, and by how much? The protocol is a first step toward providing a community approach to such a capability assessment, and one that can expand to be more comprehensive as needed. This presentation outlines the principles and elements of the protocol, and provides examples of its implementation.