36 Drought Information & Reporting (DRI): Mobile Application Use in Drought Condition Reporting

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Zachery Maye, NWS, Memphis, TN; and M. Brown

Handout (4.6 MB)

Drought condition reporting is crucial to the creation of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor product, produced jointly between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC). The U.S. Drought Monitor product has a myriad of users, primarily policymakers and media, and is typically used to highlight area of drought and for drought relief planning. The U.S. Drought Monitor is used toward the distribution of billions of dollars in federal aid to farm and livestock relief. The product is created through a combination of measurements of climatic, hydrologic, and soil conditions, in addition to condition reports from over 350 contributors. These contributors are from various fields in academia, agriculture, and government agencies, among others.

In an effort to improve the accuracy and reliability of the U.S. Drought Monitor product, particularly across the state of Mississippi, the idea for a mobile application was conceived to enhance local drought condition reporting. The Drought Reporting and Information mobile application, or DRI, was created by the meteorology department of Mississippi State University, with input from the Memphis forecast office. The DRI’s primary function is to employ the geolocation and camera functions of a user’s mobile device to send a “ground truth” drought report to the National Weather Service and, ultimately, the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor product. Users will also select one of five drought categorization descriptors which best describes conditions in their location and will have the option to provide a short narrative of those conditions in their own words.

Primary users of the DRI mobile application will be those in agriculture with the best idea of local conditions in their area, primarily farmers and agriculture extension agents. While the initial introduction out of the application will be limited to counties in Mississippi, the goal is to extend the capabilities of this new tool to other areas of the country as improved methods of drought reporting and mitigation are pursued. In addition, the application may be used to deliver drought information, such as Drought Information Statements, rainfall forecasts, and the latest US Drought Monitor product, to its users. This poster will introduce the functions of the mobile application to improve upon the efficiency and reliability of drought condition reporting.

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