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Target: Understanding, predicting, monitoring drought
Drought is among the costliest of climate hazards and has impacted the U.S. on many occasions.
With accurate and timely information, actions can be taken to prepare for, mitigate, and adapt to the impacts of drought. Research to better understand how droughts evolve is critical to providing improved information, products, and services. In particular, improved monitoring and prediction capabilities are needed for timely water and emergency management decisions.
NOAA’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program awarded $6.6 million in 2014 to support 15 new multi-year projects in which university partners and federal researchers will work to improve our understanding of drought and advance NOAA’s prediction and monitoring capabilities to better anticipate and respond to drought. MAPP is a part of the Climate Program Office (CPO), situated within NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). Extensive research is required to evolve our nation’s drought monitoring system. Scientists and decision makers need a system that can effectively integrate an array of data and information about drought conditions from multiple sources and at spatial scales ranging from local to global to provide a clear picture of its origins and impacts. Predicting drought is a great challenge given the significant roles that multiple systems (atmosphere, ocean, and land surface) play in creating drought conditions.
MAPP funding will support research that deepens our understanding of past North American droughts to unlock the role that various factors played in their onset and recovery. Research projects will focus on whether models and prediction systems can accurately simulate these known droughts. These projects will help researchers improve models and prediction systems which in turn will enhance the nation’s preparedness and ability to cope with and mitigate drought impacts.
NIDIS Director Dr. Roger Pulwarty noted, “scientifically robust drought early warnings are essential for effective early actions. These research projects will further our understanding of drought and move our information capability toward more accurate, longer-lead predictions and improved monitoring of drought conditions that impact the nation’s economy, the environment, and our livelihoods.”
MAPP Program funding strategically complements internal investments at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) by investing in centers of research excellence across the U.S., engaging the community external to NOAA to help achieve NOAA’s climate mission. Support for these projects comes from NIDIS, which partners with MAPP to advance drought research. These researchers will constitute a new NOAA Drought Task Force, organized by the MAPP program.