Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mapping the Drought

Over the past decade several federal agencies have developed independent or collaborative websites that use maps to pass along information about weather conditions - to include drought.  While most of the drought sites are easily located by a web search on the term "drought maps", recent consolidation efforts have left the Internet littered with dead pages and a mixed bag of available information.  So given drought is nation's current disaster, provided below are links to several of the better remaining sites, and a brief synopsis about the information you will find there:

National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS): Sponsored by The National Drought Policy Commission, this site attempts to pull together a diverse collection of drought related data and decision support tools.

The Drought Monitor:  On this site hosted by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, a consortium of over 10 federal and state partners make extensive use of maps to deliver information about drought conditions. Also, when it comes to finding other information about drought conditions, their links page is second to none.

Hazards Assessment Briefing: The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center offers 3-7 and 8-14 day outlook maps that do not appear to be offered on The Drought Monitor site because they include other potential threats like flooding, high temperatures, wildfires and more.  However, these are great overview products for all weather related threats.  Avoid the Drought/Wildfire links in the left side bar because most will just send you to dead pages, or over to The Drought Monitor page listed above. 

Drought Monitoring: Another service of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, find here the source documents for most of the map products found at the sites above.

State/Regional/National Moisture Status: Part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's,National Climatic Data Center "State of the Climate" website which provides a variety of ways to review soil moisture numbers.  

Drought Information Center: Enticing name for a dead page of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  However, some links to archives and to pages now integrated into the sites listed above still work.

Comments: Right now it's tough out there in the farming communities of America's heartland.  One can only hope rain is on its way soon.   

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