Date of this Version
"Local Observers Fill in the Details on Drought Impact Reporter Maps," by Kelly Helm Smith, Mark Svoboda, Michael Hayes, Henry Reges, Nolan Doesken, Kirsten Lackstrom, Kristin Dow, and Amanda Brennan. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95: 11, Nov. 2014, 1659-1662.
We all know that talking politics and religion in social settings-with friends, family, or strangers- can be a firestarter. By contrast, talking about the weather is a reliably safe conversational opener.
But there's another reason that the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) wants people to talk about weather. Individuals can provide a rich source of weather-related anecdotes and observations that prove critical to evaluating droughts and enabling appropriate responses.
The mechanism for this valuable conversation with the public is the Drought Impact Reporter (DIR). Lately, the NDMC has been working to refine the way this online service encourages citizen observers and incorporates information directly from them.