NOAA revamps drought portal

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A redesigned US Drought Portal has been launched by NOAA, via its National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), to better serve stakeholders, decisionmakers, the media and the public.

The new Drought.gov portal features updated content and an interactive architecture designed to provide actionable, shareable information, and easy-to-understand graphics describing current drought conditions and forecasts by city, county, state and zip code, as well as at watershed to global scales. The site aggregates and presents drought impact data for economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, water utilities, tourism and recreation, bringing together interactive maps and data in one place.

“The new Drought.gov will help communities and economies across the United States understand and manage drought impacts,” said Veva Deheza, executive director of NIDIS. “Whether you’re looking for conditions in your neighborhood or you’re an elected official responsible for water management decisions, Drought.gov is designed to be a one-stop shop for drought information, decision-support products and educational resources.”

The website has four key new features:

  • City and county level conditions: This allows the exploration of current conditions, key indicators of drought, outlooks, forecasts, and historical drought conditions. Local drought data can assist with monitoring drought conditions at greater levels of granularity and evaluating local mitigation measures.
  • Historical data and maps: View US Drought Monitor data going back 20 years, standardized precipitation index (SPI) data going back 125 years, and paleoclimate data (e.g., from tree-ring analysis) going back 2,000 years. These data sets allow users to compare historical and current conditions even at the county level. By looking back at historical data, communities can get a better understanding of the drought and extreme weather threats to plan for and to be prepared for.
  • Sector impacts: Explore drought impacts in a new comprehensive resource of economic sector data, such as agriculture, energy, water utilities, and tourism and recreation. For example, reductions in snowpack and stream flows directly affect outdoor recreation and tourism – snow sports like skiing and snowmobiling, and water sports like boating, rafting, canoeing, fishing and swimming. The maps in this section display US recreation and tourism attractions currently in drought, including ski areas, national parks and reservoirs. Additionally, Drought.gov now provides updated snow drought information, streamflows, information on active wildfires, wildfire outlooks, and more.
  • Research and Learn: This provides users with the resources to learn about flash drought, snow drought, and initiatives like the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network. This section also includes links to ongoing and published NIDIS research designed to help build resilience to drought across the USA.
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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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