A perspective on drought information services at a state climate office

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 11:00 AM
226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
David DuBois, New Mexico State Univ., Las Cruces, NM

Delivering and assessing drought information is a key duty at a state climate office even when there is no drought. This talk will be based on experiences in engaging various groups and individuals in New Mexico during the drought over the past few years. Users of drought information are as varied as the number of disciplines it affects. During the engagement process there are some important questions to ask about before providing information. Some of those include how is drought defined and how does it impact that sector of society. Finding the impacts that are important to the user of the data is critical. Since we rely on others for much of the data to gauge drought, to do our job we rely on accurate and timely observations of reservoir storage levels, stream flow volumes, precipitation, long term averages, and a host of many other sets of data. Communicating climate prediction and forecasts is also very essential. We have found the role of citizen science in promoting and determining drought impacts has become very important. Engaging our media partners throughout the process is key. The role of social media is rising and needs to be used. Getting feedback from our users of drought information is important and often ignored.