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The National Drought Mitigation Center Monitoring Drought in the 21 st Century. Mark Svoboda, Climatologist National Drought Mitigation Center University of Nebraska-Lincoln. National Drought Mitigation Center.

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The National Drought Mitigation Center

Monitoring Drought in the 21st Century

Mark Svoboda, Climatologist

National Drought Mitigation Center

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


National Drought Mitigation Center

Mission: To lessen societal vulnerability to drought by promoting planning and the adoption of appropriate risk management techniques.

ndmc program objectives
NDMC Program Objectives
  • Improve the science of drought monitoring, planning, and mitigation
  • Build awareness of drought and its impacts on society and the environment
  • Build awareness of how human actions affect our vulnerability to drought
  • Focus the attention of policy makers on the importance of drought policy and planning in the wise stewardship of natural resources


outreach and training
Outreach and Training
  • Workshops
    • USDA/RMA
    • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
    • International
  • Website
    • 6 million page views in 2004
    • Drought Monitor
    • Drought Impact Reporter
  • Media
    • 500+ national/international media contacts annually
    • International
characteristics of crisis management
Characteristics of Crisis Management
  • Reactive, post-impact
  • Poorly coordinated
  • Untimely
  • Poorly targeted
  • Ineffective
components of drought plans
Components of Drought Plans
  • Monitoring/early warning
    • Foundation of a drought mitigation plan
    • Indices linked to impacts and triggers
  • Risk and impact assessment
    • Who and what is at risk and why
  • Mitigation and response
    • Actions/programs that reduce risk and impacts and enhance recovery
natural and social dimensions of drought
Natural and Social Dimensions of Drought

Decreasing emphasis on the natural event (precipitation deficiencies)

Increasing emphasis on water/natural resource management

Increasing complexity of impacts and conflicts





Time/Duration of the event

vulnerability analysis
Vulnerability Analysis
  • Impact Assessment
    • Social
    • Environmental
    • Economic
  • Causal Assessment
  • Temporal Trends





How to




Preparedness and Mitigation

Working Group

March 1998

Principal Authors:

Cody Knutson,

National Drought Mitigation Center

Mike Hayes,

National Drought Mitigation Center

Tom Phillips,

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

national initiatives
National Initiatives
  • National Drought Preparedness Act
  • National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
nidis goals
  • Develop leadership and partnerships to ensure implementation of NIDIS
  • Establish an integrated federal drought researchprogram
  • Create a drought early warning system
  • Develop an impact reporting/methodology tool
  • Provide interactive delivery systems (enhance the Drought Monitor)
  • Provide a framework for interacting with and educatingdecision makers and the public
u n convention to combat desertification

U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification

“To combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought . . including the adoption of drought preparedness plans.”


NDMC International Activities

Mediterranean Drought Mitigation Workshop

ISDR Drought Discussion Group

NATO Science Program-Czech Republic


North American Drought Monitor

Jordan TCP-FAO

South Korea National Drought Center

Pakistan National Drought Center

Morocco Drought Observatory

China/US Drought Monitoring Project w/NOAA/USDA/WMO

African Drought Risk Policy Forum w/UNDP DDC

Drought/Climate Change Coping Strategies-UNDP DDC

Sao Paulo Drought Mitigation and Monitoring Center

UNESCO Integrated Drought Risk Management Center for Southern Africa

Australian National Drought Policy book

global drought preparedness network
Global Drought Preparedness Network


To help nations build greater institutional capacity to cope with drought by promoting risk management and sharing lessons learned on drought monitoring and prediction, mitigation, and preparedness.

Building a Network of Regional Networks through Regional and Global Partnerships


Global Drought Preparedness Network

Individually, many nations will be unable to improve drought coping capacity.

Collectively, through global, regional, and national partnerships, we can share information and experiences to reduce the impacts of drought.


GDPN Regional Networks


North American Network

Asian Network w/ ESCAP, ISDR, WMO and others

Sub-Saharan African Network w/UNDP DDC, ISDR and others



Drought MitigationCenter

A Partnership


A Web-Based National Drought Impacts Reporting Tool (DRI Reporter)

Mark Svoboda, Michael Hayes, Don Wilhite, Melissa Higgins and Deb Wood

National Drought Mitigation Center

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

why monitor drought impacts
Why Monitor Drought Impacts?
  • Drought is a normal part of the climatic cycle
  • Drought impacts are significant and widespread
  • Many economic sectors affected
  • Drought is expensive
    • Since 1980, major droughts and heat waves within the U.S. alone have resulted in costs exceeding $100 billion (NCDC)
u s drought impact facts
U.S. Drought Impact Facts
  • Drought is the most costly U.S. natural disaster
    • FEMA estimates losses at $6-8 billion annually (1995)
    • 1988, $39 billion ($62B in 2004 $)
    • 2002, $20+ billion
    • 2003, $15+ billion
    • 2004-05, ???
  • Impacts are becoming more complex agriculture, energy production, transportation, tourism and recreation, forest and wild land fires, urban water supply, environment and human health
  • Conflicts between water users increasing
  • No systematic national, state, or local assessment of drought impacts
dri reporter tool
DRI Reporter Tool
  • Went live on July 27!
  • Web-based (GIS architecture) package of products and interactive features
  • Ability to incorporate user-supplied input and information/feedback (all levels)
  • A comprehensive archiveof news articles
    • Location- and theme-based
    • Map and database formats
    • Clipping service: 7,100 publications daily
    • NDMC: 11,000 news stories since 1997

Potential Outcomes

  • Ability to do national assessments
  • Building first national impacts database/archive
  • Consistent reporting methodologies
    • National, state, local levels
  • Ingest/integrate regional impact data (RISAs, RCCs, SCs, tribal, state/fed reports, academic, etc.) into national database
  • Heighten awareness of drought as a hazard


Visit the NDMC

[email protected]