J2.3 Riding the Wave of Combined Drought Indicators to Enhance Drought Early Warning for Decision Support

Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Room 18B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Mark D. Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center, Lincoln, NE; and B. Wardlow, B. Fuchs, C. Poulsen, J. Swigart, C. R. Hain, R. McDonnell, and C. M. U. Neale

The fact that droughts, unlike most hazards, typically evolve slowly, last for months or years, and can cover thousands of square miles across multiple geopolitical boundaries makes it a daunting task to track them over space and time. In situ networks will always face the challenges of underfunding, ongoing maintenance and not enough spatial density or uniform coverage to thoroughly monitor our hydroclimatic system. In the United States and abroad, many partners are working together to develop more coordinated and comprehensive drought early warning and information systems based in part on remotely sensed inputs, which can help augment our in situ networks. These systems are often centered around approaches aimed at building local capacity and for informing decision makers in the areas of food and water security.

The NDMC works to reduce societal vulnerability to drought by helping decision makers at all levels to: implement drought early warning systems, understand and prevent drought impacts, and increase long-term resilience to drought through proactive planning. The NDMC is a national/international center founded in 1995 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The NDMC conducts basic and applied research in the areas of development and maintenance of a number of operational drought-related decision support tools and databases, education, outreach and other services in the United States and around the world.

This presentation will describe in more detail the various combined drought indicator efforts that the NDMC and partners around the world have been involved in as we work to complement in situ networks with the best that satellites and models can provide while utilizing the strengths of multiple indicators in order to customize drought early warning systems for specific regions, seasons or sectors. Special attention will be paid to our current work with USAID and partners at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), the Water for Food Global Institute (WFI) at the University of Nebraska, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

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