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Drought Monitoring Toolbox for the Northeast: September 14, 2021

Event Date
September 14, 2021
Event Time
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

This was the second of two webinars to share project findings on drought indices and indicators that support the monitoring and management of different drought types in the northeast United States. The webinar included an overview of several drought monitoring tools and data sources developed by the project team, including:

  • Climate Engine
  • NOAA’s Evaporative Demand Drought Index
  • NOAA’s Landscape Evaporative Response Index

This webinar was held by NIDIS, the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CIRES), in cooperation with the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC).



Speaker: Sylvia Reeves, NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

  • Today's presentation highlights one of many drought research efforts that focus on improving our drought early warning capacity.
  • I'd like to introduce the project lead, Dr. Dan McEvoy, a regional climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center and Desert Research Institute. He'll introduce his team, share an overview of the Coping with Drought-funded project, and highlight our agenda for today.



Introduction to Drought Indicators and Indices Project

Speaker: Dan McEvoy, Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center

  • We are wrapping up a two-year project funded through NOAA's Climate Program Office and NIDIS: "Identifying Time Scales and Tools to Support the Northeast DEWS and Management of Different Drought Types."
  • Last week, we shared some of the research highlights from this project, and today we'll focus on tools developed by the project team for drought monitoring and data access:
    • Climate Engine
    • Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI)
    • Landscape Evaporative Response Index (LERI) and the Drought Index Portal



Global to Field-Scale Drought Monitoring with Climate Engine

Speaker: Dan McEvoy, Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center

  •  Climate Engine web application:
    • Powered by Google Earth Engine
    • Gridded climate data, remote sensing, and sub-seasonal climate forecasts
    • Updated daily in near real time
    • Global coverage (for certain datasets)
    • Mapping and time series options
  • Global datasets:
    • ERA5 Reanalysis
    • MERRA2 Reanalysis
    • Landsat and MODIS archives
  • Mapping and data export options:
    • For any map, select rectangular region and down image as a geoTIFF or a PDF.
    • The geoTIFF images can be brought directly into ArcGIS or similar platforms.
    • There is an API currently in development with Climate Engine that would allow one to automatically grab data.
  • Climate Engine User Manual



The Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) in the Northeast DEWS Region

Speaker: Mike Hobbins, NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

  • The Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) is the anomaly in evaporative demand at a specified timescale, for a given location, expressed as a percentile.
  • What is evaporative demand?
    • Evaporative demand is the "thirst of the atmosphere." Evaporative demand is not evapotranspiration/evaporation. It is evaporation given unlimited moisture.
    • Evaporative demand is used for:
      • Estimating crop water requirements
      • Scheduling irrigation
      • Driving actual evapotranspiration estimates in land surface models and R/S fusion
      • Monitoring drought.
  • How to access EDDI:



Landscape Evaporative Response Index (LERI): High-Resolution Monitoring of Anomalies in ET Response Across the Contiguous U.S.

Speaker: Imtiaz Rangwala, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

  • Landscape Evaporative Response Index (LERI): A measure of land surface dryness
    • Resolution: 1 km
    • Climate variable: Evaporative response
    • Underlying data: Evaporative fraction derived from MODIS Terra thermal imagery
    • Period of record: 2000–present
    • Coverage: Contiguous U.S. and northern Mexico
    • Update frequency: Weekly and monthly
    • Applications: Agricultural, ecological, and flash droughts; wildfire risk
  • Drought Index Portal (DrIP)
    • Several drought indices: PDSI, Palmer-Z, PDSI-sc, SPI (1–12 months), SPEI (1–12 months), EDDI (1–12 months)
    • Climate variables: minimum, maximum, and mean temperature; precipitation; vapor-pressure deficit
    • Users can plot each index using U.S. Drought Monitor categories and estimate the Drought Severity Coverage Index (DSCI) for each index.
    • Download options: Time series data, image files
    • Time selection: Long historical period (1900–present, updated monthly); flexibility with month selection
    • Data source: WestWide Drought Tracker (for all data except EDDI)
    • Update frequency: Monthly



Q&A Session