Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Remote Sensing of Drought: Innovative Monitoring Approaches, edited by Brian D. Wardlow, Martha C. Anderson, & James P. Verdin (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, 2012).


U.S. Government Work


Soil moisture is a fundamental link between global water and carbon cycles and has major applications in predicting natural hazards such as droughts and floods (National Research Council, 2007). From precipitation data, soil wetness can be estimated by hydrological land-surface models. In the United States, preliminary precipitation data are based on measurements gathered from many active stations nationwide each month, and it takes 3–4 months to assemble final, quality-controlled data. In the western United States, some climate divisions may have no stations reporting in a particular month or may lack first- or second-order stations, and significant blockages by mountains limit the capability of precipitation measurement by surface rain radars (Maddox et al., 2002).