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Published on
April 19, 2022

Increases in atmospheric water demand results in more water being drawn from the land surface into the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration from plants, which can limit the amount of water available to humans and ecosystems, especially in arid regions where less water is available in the first place. Rsearchers from the Desert Research Institute, with funding from NIDIS, conducted a study to answer three questions: (1) how much has evaporative demand changed across the continental U.S., (2) how consistent are the observed changes among different commonly used datasets, and (3) what climate variables are predominantly driving this change? To do this, they quantified reference evapotranspiration (ETo), which is a standardized measure of evaporative demand that would occur across an idealized and specific well-watered ‘reference’ surface composed of short grass. 

Published on
March 1, 2022

NASA DEVELOP is a nationwide program that utilizes NASA Earth observations to address diverse environmental issues impacting communities. This spring, the NASA DEVELOP NCEI team is building upon the fall 2021 project by continuing work on evapotranspiration and water balance climatologies for the Midwestern United States.

Published on
January 24, 2022

The Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint (ACF) Rivers, along with the Apalachicola Bay, link the people and natural systems of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. In response to a request by regional stakeholders, and in close partnerships with state and regional partners, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) has launched the new ACF River Basin Drought and Water Dashboard and ACF Drought Story Map.

Published on
November 23, 2021

NIDIS drought email alerts provide up-to-date local drought information right to your inbox. Since the launch of the new Drought.gov at the beginning of 2021, NIDIS has partnered with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) to deliver these alerts with the latest changes to local U.S. Drought Monitor conditions. Now, NIDIS and NCEI are expanding this climate service by providing information on the latest drought outlooks.

Published on
November 9, 2021

Although wildfire is part of the natural ecosystem cycle over the western U.S., its intensity and frequency has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent decades. A new study shows that climate change is the main driver of this increase in fire weather in the western United States. And even though wetter and cooler conditions could offer brief respites, more intense and frequent wildfires and aridification in the western states will continue with rising temperatures.

Published on
October 19, 2021

NASA DEVELOP addresses environmental and public policy issues through research projects that apply the lens of NASA Earth observations to community concerns.  NIDIS has been involved with the NASA DEVELOP program hosted at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, North Carolina since 2018. NIDIS supports drought-focused projects at the DEVELOP NCEI location each year, and our coordinators have been involved as partners in past projects. This fall, the NASA DEVELOP NCEI team is working to create evapotranspiration and water balance climatologies for the Midwestern United States.

Published on
October 12, 2021

Drought represents a globally relevant natural disaster linked to adverse health. But while evidence has shown agricultural communities to be particularly susceptible to drought, there is a limited understanding of how drought may impact occupational stress in farmers. To address this problem, NIDIS co-funded a study to examine the relationship between drought conditions and measures of job-related stress (job strain ratio) in farmers. The study, led by Jesse Berman with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and published in Science of The Total Environment, looked at the association between drought conditions and increasing occupational stress among nearly 500 Midwest farm owners and operators over 2012–2015.

Published on
September 28, 2021

Since early 2020, the Southwest United States has suffered record low precipitation and near-record high temperatures, gripping the region with an unyielding, unprecedented, and costly drought. This exceptional drought—marked by massive water shortages, destructive wildfires, emergency declarations, and the first ever water delivery shortfall among the states sharing the Colorado River—punctuates a two-decade warm and dry period that has baked the Southwest. A newly released report from the NOAA Drought Task Force, which is a collaboration between the NOAA Climate Program Office, National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), and leading scientists, addressed four critical questions about the 2020–2021 Southwestern U.S. drought.

Published on
September 9, 2021

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) will host a four-day Southwest Drought Virtual Forum on September 21–22 and 28–29. The Forum will assemble stakeholders, decision makers, and drought experts for a cross-cutting dialogue on worsening drought conditions in the Southwestern United States, and response and relief efforts across levels of government and sectors, with the goal of supporting communities impacted by ongoing water scarcity and building long-term drought resilience in the region. 

Published on
September 8, 2021

For the past two decades, the southwestern United States has been desiccated by one of the most severe long-term droughts—or ‘megadroughts’—of the last 1,200 years. And now, scientists say the risk of similar extreme megadroughts and severe single-year droughts will increase in the future as Earth’s temperature continues to rise, according to a new study in Earth’s Future sponsored by NOAA’s Climate Program Office and National Integrated Drought Information System, and led by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.