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NIDIS supports drought research which focuses on

  • advancing the scientific understanding of the weather and climatic mechanisms that lead to drought onset, persistence and recovery;
  • improving drought prediction skill by identifying sources of drought predictability across timescales and regions to improve forecasts;
  • improving drought information systems by incorporating the latest scientific advances into metrics relevant for various societal sectors, and advanced information delivery platforms; and
  • 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.

Research programs supported through NIDIS include NOAA’s Modeling Analysis Predictions and Projections (MAPP) program, the Climate Test Bed, the Drought Task Force, the Coping with Drought initiative and NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments programs (RISA).


NOAA MAPP logoNIDIS supports research through NOAA’s Modeling Analysis Predictions and Projections (MAPP) program, targeted to improving drought monitoring and prediction systems, resulting in improvements in the U.S. Drought Monitor, NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) Drought Outlooks and early warning capabilities. MAPP funds collaborative research grants that involve academia, NOAA and other research laboratories.


The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Test Bed (CTB) seeks to accelerate the transfer of research findings into NOAA's operational drought products.


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 Task Force, established by MAPP, includes NASA and the USGS.


Coping with Drought (CWD) initiative research assesses impacts of drought on agriculture, ecosystems, and water resources and develops decision support tools for regional, state, and local use. NOAA’s Sectoral Applications and Research Program (SARP) and Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) administer NIDIS-supported grants under the CWD initiative, in partnership with extramural communities.


NOAA RISA logoRISAs are university-based teams which conduct research and engagement activities to help ensure that their regions are prepared to cope with hazards and extreme events. They work together with researchers and stakeholders to provide regional briefings, outreach, and workshops on understanding and communicating drought conditions, impacts and forecasts. They include: