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Evaluating Nevada’s Drought Monitoring Network to Improve Drought Early Warning and Response

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

Nevada is both the driest state in the U.S. and one of the places most frequently impacted by drought. The state’s topography is complex, with numerous north–south trending mountain ranges separated by valleys. It is also not adequately monitored for drought, negatively impacting drought detection and monitoring, particularly in rural areas. Key recommendations from the 2015 Nevada Drought Forum included assessing monitoring needs and filling gaps. The specific goals for this project are to:

  1. Conduct an inventory of weather stations in Nevada and identify a subset of stations that provide data specific to drought monitoring.
  2. Identify major monitoring gaps across the state.
  3. Prioritize areas for network augmentation.
  4. Document remotely sensed and modeled products already being used by U.S. Drought Monitor authors.
  5. Work with key local stakeholders (e.g., National Weather Service, Bureau of Land Management, University of Nevada, Reno Extension) to make recommendations for (a) network development and (b) research priorities related to evaluating remotely sensed and modeled products used for drought monitoring.
  6. Make the inventory and gap analysis accessible so that users can access station metadata and links to recognized monitoring network information and produce a report documenting methods and findings.

For more information, view a webinar presentation on this research, or contact Amanda Sheffield (

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
September 2021 – August 2023
Principal Investigator(s)

David Simeral and Dan McEvoy, Desert Research Institute; Steph McAfee, University of Nevada – Reno, Nevada State Climate Office

Project Funding
Focus Areas (DEWS Components)

Results of this research

View the results of this research on the Desert Research Institute's project web page, including:

  • A final report documenting and mapping how we currently monitor drought in Nevada—the kinds of stations, what they likely measure, and what parts of the landscape they monitor, in terms of elevation, ecosystem, and land ownership. 
  • A set of recommendations, informed by key local stakeholders, about how best to enhance our current monitoring network, where new monitoring is most important, and what drought monitoring research activities will be most useful.

Key Regions

Research Scope
DEWS Region(s)