Perhaps no other hazard lends itself as well to the need for a diligent early warning system (DEWS) than drought. Droughts typically evolve slowly, but have the potential to cover very large areas compared to hazards like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, which have a much smaller geographic footprint. The U.S. took first steps in 2006 toward developing coordinated and integrated DEWS through the creation of the National Integrated Drought Information System, or NIDIS. More recently, the National Drought Mitigation Center (http://drought.unl.edu) has been working with NIDIS and other international parties (WMO, GEO, United Nations, etc.) with a goal of developing a virtual and comprehensive global drought early warning system (GEWS). The NDMC’s mission is to work to reduce societal vulnerability to drought by helping decision makers at all levels to: implement drought early warning systems, understand and prevent drought impacts and increase long-term resilience to drought through proactive planning. The NDMC is a national center founded in 1995 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The NDMC conducts basic and applied research along with the maintaining of a number of operational drought-related and outreach activities, including the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), Drought Impact Reporter (DIR) and the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI). This paper will describe in more detail the various drought resources, tools, research efforts, services and collaborations already being provided by the NDMC and its partners along with a look at what is coming down the road in helping others toward developing drought early warning systems in the U.S. and around the world.


Drought Early Warning System (DEWS), disaster management, drought preparedness, drought assessment, drought impacts

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