Date of this Version
The NDMC hosted the first annual “Drought Monitor Forum” in November. Most of the readers of Drought Network News are probably aware of the Drought Monitor web site (http://enso.unl.edu/ monitor/index.html) and the products that are provided to users. (Mark Svoboda of the NDMC provided an overview of the Drought Monitor product in the Winter/Spring 2000 issue of Drought Network News.) This weekly product, jointly produced by the NDMC, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, has been widely accepted in the United States, and other countries are considering the adoption of a similar technique for mapping drought occurrence and classifying severity levels. The web site receives about 30,000 hits a week and is published widely in newspapers across the country. It has also been adopted by The Weather Channel.
A diverse set of users and technical specialists came together to review the product’s successes and failures during its first year. We also discussed some of the more technical aspects of product development such as nomenclature and the use or modification of climate indices for incorporation in a blended index. Expect to see changes in the product, some subtle and some more dramatic, in the months ahead. We also expect NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center to join us as a new partner in this activity in the spring of 2001. The Drought Monitor was highlighted in the report of the National Drought Policy Commission (NDPC) to Congress and the President in May 2000, and the NDPC recommended continued and expanded support for this partnership effort. (The NDPC report can be found at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/drought/finalreport/accesstoreports.htm.)