Section III Advances in Tools for Drought Prediction, Early Warning, Decision Support, and Management

Research to Advance Drought Monitoring and Prediction Capabilities


Droughts have significant economic and societal impacts. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) works to prepare people, communities, businesses, and governments to mitigate the impacts of drought through preparation, improved monitoring and prediction, and building information system networks that extend from the local to the federal level. A critical component in building NIDIS's drought information system is research to (1) advance the scientific understanding of the physical mechanisms that lead to the onset, maintenance, and recovery of drought; (2) improve drought prediction skill; (3) improve current drought monitoring capabilities; and (4) improve drought information systems by incorporating the latest advances in monitoring and prediction, objective metrics relevant to various societal sectors, and advanced information delivery platforms.

In partnership with NIDIS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office modeling, analysis, predictions, and projections (MAPP) program established a drought task force (DTF) to address the above research questions. The DTF leverages and contributes to drought research in NOAA research labs and operational centers and across the federal government as part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and international research programs. This chapter offers an overview of the state of science and practice in Monitoring, Forecasting, and Understanding Droughts. It highlights the research advances in these areas, and the remaining challenges and opportunities. More technical details can be found in the MAPP/DTF Research to Capability Assessment Report (Huang et al. 2016), a special collection of scientific papers organized by the MAPP/DTF (Schubert et al. 2015), and in particular a synthesis paper by Wood et al. (2015).

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