U.S. Drought Monitor Forum
The Desert Research Institute and Western Regional Climate Center hosted the biennial 2015 U.S. Drought Monitor Forum in Reno, Nevada on April 14-16, 2015. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) forum included a keynote address by Ann Mills, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment (USDA) and Dr. Connie Woodhouse, a paleoclimate researcher from the University of Arizona. This biennial meeting brought together authors of the USDM as well as a larger group of federal, state, and local contributors to explore the current drought situation, drought impacts, and provide a forum on improvements. The final day of the forum, Thursday April 16th, was dedicated to a special session related to the California-Nevada drought. This session focused on improving inter-agency and stakeholder collaboration with the USDM.
U.S. Drought Monitor
The U.S. Drought Monitor is a weekly map of drought conditions across the nation that is jointly produced by a rotating group of eleven climatologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The map is derived from analysis of climatic, hydrologic, and soil conditions as well as reported drought impacts information from a collaborative group of more than 350 experts from throughout the country who provide state- and regional-level expertise.
In application, the U.S. Drought Monitor is the most widely recognized gauge of drought in the country and is used by a broad audience including federal and state government personnel, the media, and the general public. On the federal level, the USDA Farm Service Agency uses the USDM to determine eligibility, as part of the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, to allocate drought disaster relief estimated at a total of $4 billion between 2011 and 2014.
Specific objectives of the forum are as follows:
- Explore the current national drought situation
- Examine regional drought impacts
- Identify new drought monitoring and assessment products and tools
- Improve inter-agency and stakeholder coordination
- Provide a forum for constructive dialogue between the USDM authors and a larger group of contributors with an emphasis on improving the weekly map
Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512
Forum Location: Stout A&B Conference Rooms