19 Do Floods Terminate a Drought?

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Michael C. Kruk, Earth Resources Technology, Inc., Asheville, NC; and R. R. Heim Jr., D. McEvoy, and A. M. Sheffield

Determining how much rain and snow must fall to end a current drought and return the system to normal is a multi-faceted challenge, yet it is a question routinely asked owing to the far-reaching societal and economic impacts of drought. The recent very wet 2016-2017 water year in the western United States after nearly five consecutive years of drought allowed the concept of drought recovery to quickly take center stage. In particular, whether some of the flooding rain events in this region of the country, associated with deep rich atmospheric rivers of moisture, are in themselves, sufficient to ameliorate or terminate a drought. This question was the focus of an NCEI-led, NIDIS-funded, June 2017 workshop where a set of users from a variety of disciplines participated in an active review of the NCEI tool used to quantify the amount of precipitation needed to ameliorate or terminate a drought.

This presentation will answer the question posed in the title, highlight the major improvements to the revamped tool drought amelioration tool at NCEI, and do a brief demo of the new tool. It will also share the results of the June 2017 user-engagement workshop designed to document how drought amelioration tools are being used and what improvements in these tools the user community is seeking.

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