305476 Incorporating GIS Data and Methodologies In Support of the U.S. Drought Monitor

Wednesday, 25 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Eric Luebehusen, USDA/OCE, Washington, DC

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) has become an increasingly important tool not only for depicting drought severity, but also for triggering financial assistance for those adversely impacted.  For example, the USDA alone has provided more than $6B in aid to producers to cover losses incurred since the inception of the USDM.  For this reason, accurately assessing drought intensity, coverage, and type is vital to the U.S. Drought Monitor authors and those who count on the weekly product.  While authors rely heavily on hundreds of local experts every week for impacts and suggestions, the transition of the USDM to Geographic Information Software (GIS) opened the door to a detailed, data-supported product which blends real-time in-situ and remotely-sensed data with local feedback.  This relatively new approach — coupled with a wealth of hydrological and meteorological data now available in GIS compatible formats — has resulted in an ever-increasing level of detail and accuracy not envisioned when the USDM began during the summer, 1999.   This blended approach between objective data in GIS format and increased cooperation and guidance from the field has enabled the USDM to become the global standard for drought depiction.
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