Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



The authors 2016


Vol. 70: 251–263, 2016 doi: 10.3354/cr01406


Historically, drought has been responded to rather than prepared for, yet studies have illustrated that proactive investment in drought risk management reduces impacts and overall response costs. One key element of preparedness is the use of sufficient climate information for monitoring, forecasting, and tracking long-term trends. In the face of a changing climate and increasing variability, these types of data are even more critical for planning and overall resiliency. The systematic use of these data to inform the drought planning component of drought risk management is a relatively recent development. Actionable science has direct applicability for planning and decision-making, and allows for an iterative process between scientists and end users that can build long-term drought resiliency. The article will describe how planners in Colorado are increasingly relying on climate data, ranging from paleoclimatological records to experimental seasonal forecasts, to guide their long-term drought preparedness and climate change adaptation efforts. This information can then be used to inform broader policy and planning efforts, unifying the scientific basis across multiple processes. In addition, the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP), with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) as co-leads, promotes national policies encouraging proactive risk management, and provides a platform for sharing the lessons learned by the planners, policy makers, and scientists around the world. Data-driven decision-making using climate information can help depoliticize actions and increase overall resiliency and response in times of drought, which will be increasingly important as the world warms.