Dry Horizons: MIT case study shows costly infrastructure may not be the answer

August 17, 2017

The August edition of Dry Horizons features a new case study by MIT researchers that suggests large-scale infrastructure may not be the answer to drought. The team used Melbourne, Australia, as a case study. The city, which experienced a 12-year drought, built a $5 billion facility, but it was completed three years after the drought ended and has hardly been used since.

Through analysis and modelling, the MIT team determined smaller-scale, incremental additions to water infrastructure may make more sense for advanced countries. 

The newsletter also features:

  • A Union of Concerned Scientists report on how healthy soils help farmers fight back against flood and drought
  • A SCIPP report on local drought management and how counties use nationally driven drought information to inform decisions
  • A 10-year-old's Space Apps Challenge 2017 project called "Drop the Drought"

Read this month's edition here.

July 2017 Drought and Impact Summary: Drought persists over northern Plains

August 10, 2017

Drought persisted in the northern Plains in July. By the end of the month, the number of people experiencing drought had increased from 15.8 million to 21.3 million.

Summer DroughtScape: It's been an active quarter

July 31, 2017

The latest edition of DroughtScape is out. It’s been an active quarter with the release of a new flash-drought tool, QuickDRI, and a new website for the U.S. Agriculture Commodities in Drought maps. We've also wrapped up our "writeshops" in the Caribbean and moved toward drought vulnerability assessments in the MENA region. Get those stories and more in the summer 2017 edition.

Dry Horizons: Search among drought data tools gets easier

July 19, 2017

The July edition of Dry Horizons features the National Integrated Drought Information System's latest addition to its website: A drought data tool gallery, which makes finding available drought tools to address monitoring, forecasting or condition needs easier. The gallery can be filtered by key categories, such as soil moisture, fire or impacts; by data format; data type; or data coverage area. 

The newsletter also features:

  • A U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit feature on the Beaverhead Watershed case study on drought resiliency in Montana;
  • An American Meteorological Society journal article that defines "ecological drought" through a 21st century lens; and 
  • A research project on the 2015 Oregon drought that will benefit the state and future mitigation efforts.

Read this month's edition here.

Warning system gets the early drop on drought

July 12, 2017

Agricultural crops can wither in a flash when the days turn hot, the air dries, the rain stops and moisture evaporates quickly from the soil. A new early warning system developed by two nationally recognized centers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with the U.S. Geological Survey, can help alert stakeholders as drought begins.

The Quick Drought Response Index, or QuickDRI, is a weekly alarm sensitive to early-stage drought conditions and rapidly evolving drought events.

Webinar: A look at drought in the Northern Plains

June 22, 2017

A recent webinar provided an update on the drought currently affecting the Northern Plains, specifically North Dakota and South Dakota, where large swaths of the state have been affected, and also Montana, where drought is encroaching further west each week. Watch it in full here.


  • NDMC: Regional Drought Update & the USDM | Open here
  • SDSU Extension: 2017 Northern Plains Drought | Open here

Dry Horizons: When will that drought end?

June 21, 2017

The June edition of Dry Horizons has been released. It features a new tool from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information that can help answer the question: How long is that drought likely to stick around? The Drought Termination and Amelioration pages are a customizable interface that provides information on amount of precipitation necessary to end a drought and the likelihood rain will fall, among other options. 

Hayes, Svoboda contribute to EU disaster risk management report

June 9, 2017

Knowing that natural and manmade disasters threaten millions of people each year and cost billions of dollars, the European Union has made disaster management a priority. A recent report, “Science for disaster risk management 2017: Knowing better and losing less,” hopes to illustrate what scientists know about these disasters, but also harness that knowledge to save lives and money through prevention.

National Drought Mitigation Center former director Mike Hayes and Director Mark Svoboda, both at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, contributed to the chapter dedicated to drought.

May 2017 Drought and Impact Summary: Conditions deteriorate in southern Florida, parts of Plains

June 9, 2017

Dry weather led to deteriorating drought conditions in the northern Plains, southern Florida, and parts of the southern Plains. 

New maps, new website highlight drought effects on agriculture

June 2, 2017

Maps highlighting the effects of drought on six agricultural commodities across the continental U.S. became available in late May on a website hosted by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The maps are a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Economist and the drought center.

The maps are based on the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor and show the locations and percentages of drought-affected areas that produce crops or livestock. They are released Thursdays and can be found at agindrought.unl.edu.

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