Coping with Drought: Research in Support of NIDIS
The NOAA Climate Program Office's Coping with Drought in Support of NIDIS Initiative began in 2007 as a joint Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA), Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP), and Transition of Research Applications to Climate Services (TRACS) effort to develop a focused decision-support research and service delivery effort to aid risk management in the context of severe, sustained drought and broader water resources management issues.
The Initiative focused on funding projects within the following three areas: (1) support cross-RISA team drought projects to build upon and highlight the experience gained throughout the RISA network of researcher-practitioner collaborations; specifically exploring issues of testing drought-focused tools across different regions and/or working across RISA teams on drought issues within a river basin or specified geographic area; (2) identify via a sector-based impacts research effort the economic and social effects of drought (across the US) through methods compatible with the short and long-term data and information needs of policy and decision makers; and (3) meet user requirements for the development of end-stage climate information tailored for specific decision needs associated with operational activities.
Research from these projects will provide resources to respond to the challenges of such practical issues as the re-licensing of dams, reservoir management challenges, ecosystem restoration initiatives, and a host of other complex and competing water-resource allocation issues. Research findings are also expected to result in more widespread use of climate information and will be critical to building an end-to-end climate service.
For more information about the Coping With Drought Initiative, please visit NIDIS.
Coping with Drought Sample of Funded Projects
Dynamic Drought Index Tool
Gregory Carbone, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; and J. Rhee, H. Mizzell, K. Dow, and A. T. DeGaetano
The DDIT is designed to adddress the needs for drought monitoring demanded by a wide range of stakeholders. Its flexible design allows users to select the most appropriate index, and to scale to appropriate time periods and regions. Here we will describe its features, discuss user response and recommendations, and document issues related to scaling from the Carolinas to other states. We will also outline procedures required to move from a research to operational web tool.
Reconciling Projections of Future Colorado River Stream Flow
Robert S. Webb, NOAA, Boulder, CO; and B. H. Udall, M. Hoerling, J. Overpeck, H. C. Hartman, D. P. Lettenmaier, J. Vano, D. R. Cayan, T. Das, L. D. Brekke, and K. Werner
Given the wide range of projected flows, the four NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments in the western US (RISAs: Western Water Assessment, Climate Assessment for the Southwest, Climate Impacts Group of the Pacific Northwest, California Applications Program), Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA engaged in a coping with drought study to reconcile the range of estimates for future Colorado River flows. A secondary goal was to inform the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) on the process needed to convey to policy and decision makers the nature of the uncertainties associated with projections of future climate impacts.
Evaluation of Fire Forecast Products to Enhance U.S. Drought Preparedness and Response
Dan Ferguson (Univ. of AZ, CLIMAS); Timothy Brown (Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center, CAP); Paul Duffy (Neptune and Company, Inc., ACCAP); Gigi Owen (Univ. of AZ, CLIMAS); Sarah Trainor (Univ. of AK, ACCAP)
This cross-RISA (CLIMAS, CAP, ACCAP) drought project will assess the impact the National Seasonal Assessment Workshop (NSAW) seasonal and monthly fire outlooks have on decision makers across the agencies who collaborate to plan for and manage wildfires in the Western U.S. This project will evaluate who is using these outlooks and how they are being used in order to: 1) provide immediate (next year) input into the production and distribution of these products and 2) begin to build a seasonal fire decision analysis framework to help identify where additional resources are most efficiently spent by better understanding and quantifying uncertainties in current decision making.
Paleoclimatic Information for Drought Planning and Decision Making
Connie A. Woodhouse, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; and J. J. Lukas, M. Mauzy, and J. Jones
In the Rio Grande region, through two workshops, we worked with area water managers to 1) provide a basic understanding of how tree-based reconstructions of streamflow are developed and applied to resource management, 2) understand Rio Grande water management challenges that might be addressed by streamflow reconstructions, and 3) develop data and tools useful for Rio Grande area decision making. Streamflow reconstructions and tools to assess these extended records were developed with scientific collaborators, and are now part of a web-based resource, which also includes information on the workshops: http://treeflow.info/riogr/index.html
Bridging the Gap Between Research and Stakeholders: A Tale of Three Tools
Mark D. Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center, Lincoln, NE; and C. Knutson and M. J. Hayes
The most recent activity (currently underway) is seen in our work with five pilot communities in Illinois, Nebraska, and Oklahoma to establish a new “Drought Ready Community” (DRC) program. The NDMC has partnered on this project with the University of Illinois and the University of Oklahoma to develop a community driven process in integrating place-based planning to reduce vulnerability to drought. One of the main deliverable goals of the project is to develop a “drought resources kit” of educational, public awareness, climatological, planning and mitigation resources. Some of the key objectives include: 1) identify the strengths and shortcomings of available climate data, including what's available through the NIDIS portal, in meeting community-level needs; 2) investigate the feasibility of developing additional, more community-specific indicators, if needed; 3) identify the strengths and shortcomings of educational and public awareness materials in preparing communities for planning; 4) identify the strengths and shortcomings of available processes for developing community-level climatological history; develop and test a new process, if needed; 5) Develop and test a “Drought Ready Communities” kit; and 6) Define what a community needs to do to be certified as a “Drought Ready Community”.
A Climate Information System to Enhance Drought Preparedness by Underserved Farmers in the Southeastern U.S.
Roncoli, Carla, University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc., Gerrit Hoogenboom, Carrie Furman, Pam Knox, Joel Paz, University of Georgia, Heather Gray, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund