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Research and Learn

Advancing Drought Early Warning through Interdisciplinary Research

Drought Early Warning Research

Research to better understand how droughts evolve and how their impacts are mitigated is critical to providing timely and reliable information, products, and services in support of drought early warning. In particular, research to improve drought monitoring and prediction capabilities on a variety of timescales and spatial scales are needed for water and emergency management decisions, as well as for water-dependent sectors of the economy to more efficiently manage their resources.

NIDIS works to ensure drought research efforts are coordinated and integrated into decision-making. NIDIS supports the following drought research objectives:
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Scientific Understanding

Advancing knowledge of the weather and climatic mechanisms that lead to drought onset, persistence, and recovery.

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Prediction and Forecasting

Strengthening drought prediction skill by identifying sources of drought predictability across timescales and regions to improve forecasts.

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Information Systems

Incorporating the latest scientific advances into metrics for various societal sectors, and advanced information delivery platforms.

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Network Capacity Building

Improving coordination and delivery of information through in-person drought outlook forums and weekly webinars using networks of experts at the state and local level.

NIDIS-Supported Competitive Research Programs

Since 2012, NIDIS has funded more than 80 grants through the competitive Coping with Drought Initiative and Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program, in addition to supporting a variety of other research projects advancing drought early warning across sectors. Below are examples of NIDIS-supported competitive research initiatives and programs.

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Coping with Drought Research Competition

NIDIS regularly hosts the Coping with Drought research competition, which supports research to assess the impacts of drought on agriculture, ecosystems, and water resources and develop decision support tools for regional, state, and local use. 

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Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP)

NIDIS supports drought-focused competitive funding opportunities through the NOAA Climate Program Office's (CPO's) Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program, with a focus on improving drought monitoring and prediction systems, resulting in improvements in the U.S. Drought Monitor, CPC Drought Outlooks, and drought early warning capabilities. MAPP funds collaborative research grants that involve academia, NOAA, and other research laboratories.

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MAPP Drought Task Force

The goal of the interagency Drought Task Force is to achieve significant advances in understanding and in the ability to monitor and predict drought over North America. The NOAA Climate Program Office's Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program organizes the Drought Task Force to coordinate the activities of researchers supported through MAPP/NIDIS funding competitions. Learn more about previous Drought Task Forces (DTF): DTF I, DTF II, and DTF III.