California drought
Photo Zack Cunningham/For Stanford University News
Stanford University researchers develop portal
visualizing California utilities' drought response

Memories are short, but researchers with Stanford University are doing their best to keep the worst drought in California’s history in people’s minds.

Earlier this month, a team of researchers, led by Newsha Ajami, director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, launched a new interactive web portal to help Californians visualize how utilities across the state performed in response to drought between 2014 and 2017.

The data show that in 2015 when Gov. Brown issued a mandate to reduce water use by 25 percent, utilities across the board showed marked improvement in meeting new conservation goals. But when the mandatory target was lifted in 2016, a lot of communities backslid into heavier water-use practices.

The researchers also noted socioeconomic factors played a role. Those experiencing the effects of drought more strongly, such as rural communities, had a vested interest in conserving — and did but higher-income residents conserved less.

“Climate scientists are predicting that California will continue to experience intense dry periods punctuated by wet weather extremes,” Ajami told Stanford News. “Californians must continue to be vigilant about conservation to enable a sustainable future.”

Read more about the project here.

View the web portal here .

Drought center launches fresh look,

conversion to continuous data for U.S. Drought Monitor

The National Drought Mitigation Center just released the latest generation U.S. Drought Monitor website, with the goal of improving usability and readability for its nearly 7 million-a-year viewers. The mobile-friendly site contains a new, larger drought monitor map, revised navigation and more data and information download options.

It also includes a new, experimental Drought Severity & Coverage Index that converts categorical U.S. Drought Monitor data to continuous. (The weighted sum formula was developed by Adnan Akyuz, North Dakota state climatologist.)

Learn more about the changes.

Visit the new site, or update your bookmarks.


CoCoRaHS releases new condition monitoring tools
Earlier this month, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network launched three new condition monitoring tools to help the national network of observers visualize and record the data.

The three tools include:
  • A National Condition Monitoring Web Map developed by the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments team. The map combines condition reports from CoCoRaHS observers with the U.S. Drought Monitor map. View it.
  • A condition monitoring summary data page that allows users to view trends in reported data. Graphs, available at state, county and individual station levels, give a snapshot of the data as it changes. Use it.
  • A condition monitoring training video demonstrating ways observers can participate and share data through the network’s website. View the video.
For more information, visit the CoCoRaHS condition monitoring resource page.
Montana utilizes ESRI Story Maps for drought impacts

With drought continuing to spread across the state of Montana, the state has taken steps to visualize and document drought impacts. The Montana Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee has been collecting impact reports from across the state through its website and using ESRI Story Maps to display the reports in an interactive map viewer.

The maps are updated daily, and accompanying graphics help share more of the story. Users have the option of looking at all impacts or by impact type: agriculture/livestock; crop and range conditions; domestic or municipal; commercial/industrial or institutions; fisheries and wildlife; energy; and recreation or tourism.

View the interactive map.

The Drought Risk Management Resource Center conducts and applies research to improve drought resilience across the United States. It is a partnership between the National Integrated Drought Information System and the National Drought Mitigation Center, based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. NIDIS supports the DRMRC through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sectoral Applications Research Program.
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