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Southwest Drought Briefing: August 9, 2022

Event Date
August 9, 2022
Event Time
12:00 pm - 12:35 pm

The Southwest is in a continuing drought. This webinar looked at how recent monsoon rain has changed drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. This webinar also took a closer look at drought monitoring using data and tools from the USDA Agricultural Research Service research in partnership with PhenoCam Network.

For more information, please contact Joel Lisonbee ( or Emile Elias (


Welcome to the Southwest Drought Update

Speaker: Emile Elias | USDA Southwest Climate Hub

  • Welcome to the August 2022 Southwest Drought Briefing. 
  • Learn more about the Southwest Drought Learning Network.
  • Acknowledgment of land.
  • View past webinar recordings at
  • Introduction of the speakers:
    • Curtis Riganti, Climatologist, National Drought Mitigation Center
    • Dawn Browning, Research Ecologist, USDA–Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range



Current Conditions and Drought Outlook

Speaker: Curtis Riganti | Climatologist, National Drought Mitigation Center, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Drought continues across the Southwest.
  • Lake Mead is at its lowest elevation on record.
  • The Southwest U.S. monsoon has been active and provided some improvement to short-term drought conditions. Long-term drought conditions persist.
    • The western U.S. was in poor condition following the below-average snowpack from last year.
    • Some locations in the West have received over 5 inches of rain so far this monsoon season.
    • The second wettest day on record for Death Valley was August 5, 2022.
  • Seasonal drought outlooks show drought in the Southwest is likely to remain but improve.
  • Seasonal (August–October) precipitation outlooks show equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation for Arizona, western New Mexico, and southern Utah/Nevada. Odds favor below-normal precipitation for northern Utah/Colorado.



Examining PhenoCams as a Tool for Monitoring Drought

Speaker: Dawn Browning | Research Ecologist, USDA–Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, New Mexico

  • Phenology is the study of seasonal cycles in biological phenomena.
  • A PhenoCam is a digital camera that is posted on a tower and pointed at a fixed point to observe seasonal changes.
  • Time series of Green Chromatic Coordinate (GCC) from PhenoCam images have been used to measure changes in landscape greenness and other applications.
  • GCC may be a good indicator of recovery from drought.
  • Learn more about the PhenoCam Network.



Questions & Answers

Speaker: Joel Lisonbee | NOAA/National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)