Research to Improve Drought Monitoring

The US Drought Monitor (USDM) (Svoboda et al. 2002), which has been providing a weekly assessment of drought conditions throughout the United States since 1999, represents the nation's current state-of-the-science operational monitoring capability. A detailed description of the USDM is included in Chapter 7. This section focuses on overarching research efforts aimed at improving drought monitoring capabilities. The goals of drought monitoring research are to develop increasingly accurate, reliable, comprehensive, and high-resolution characterizations of the geophysical variables sensitive to drought through science-based methods, data, and understanding. The following subsections describe research efforts in the context of (1) real-time operational utilization of land surface models (LSMs) that quantitatively and reproducibly depict surface hydrometeorological conditions using operational, real-time meteorological input data, and long-term retrospective hydro-climate system datasets and (2) observational surface analyses based on satellite remote sensing retrievals of drought-relevant parameters. LSM- based drought prediction capabilities will be discussed in Section 6.3.

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