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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.

Published on
August 10, 2021

The National Integrated Drought Information System is pleased to announce two new interactive features on new customization and sharing options for all maps as well as new interactive economic sector maps. These new communication tools will help decision makers and the public respond to the current drought, prepare for future drought conditions, and improve the nation’s long-term drought resilience. These tools were launched in collaboration with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Published on
June 30, 2021

Effective use of drought forecasts is critical for farmers to make proactive, well-informed decisions. A key factor that determines how decision makers respond to and use drought forecasts is the extent to which they trust those forecasts. However, modeling studies of forecast valuation have rarely considered the role of user trust in a forecast’s value.  To help integrate user trust into forecast valuation, a new NIDIS-funded study proposes a framework to model trust in drought forecast information that captures how users’ trust forms and evolves over time and shows how trust influences users’ decisions. 

Published on
June 9, 2021

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) is pleased to announce the release of A Strategy for the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network: Coordinated, High-Quality, Nationwide Soil Moisture Information for the Public Good (also known as the “NCSMMN Strategy”). Developed in part to fulfill the requirements of the NIDIS Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-423), the NCSMM Strategy is the result of a 2-year multi-agency effort that included broad community engagement. 

Published on
April 15, 2021

In a special American Meteorological Society collection, 13 papers based on research funded by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) describe advances leading to improved monitoring, prediction, and understanding of past droughts.

Published on
March 24, 2021

When winter began, drought and dryness covered almost all of the Great Plains and West, and the snowfall in winter 2020-2021 didn’t do much to help conditions in the Western U.S. Explore drought conditions across the U.S. this winter in a series of 8 maps.

Published on
March 16, 2021

Last year, extreme heat and extensive drought led to a series of large wildfires across the western United States. To help address growing wildfire-related challenges, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has rolled out a new Wildland Fire Science Strategy that lays out the critical needs for wildfire research over the next five years. Released in February, this strategy can be used to better understand the balance between fire’s benefits and its detrimental impacts.

Published on
March 9, 2021

El Niño and La Niña events show a wide range of durations over the historical record, but whether event duration can be predicted has remained largely unknown. Since longer-lived, multi-year El Niño and La Niña events could extend their climate and socioeconomic impacts, it’s important to have accurate predictions of their durations with the longest lead times possible. A new study published in the Journal of Climate uses the Community Earth System Model, version 1 (CESM1) to show that event duration is highly predictable.