The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) is the result of a Congressional Act intended to implement an advanced drought monitoring and forecasting system for improved observation and prediction of droughts at multiple scales. The system is augmented by a strong effort to link scientific knowledge and information with decision making efforts related to water sources, ameliorating drought impacts through preparation, knowledge, and action.
Drought is a product of the climate system; it is influenced by local and remote forces within the climate system. Accurate and timely monitoring and prediction systems are built on a foundation of sound science, and although NIDIS and NOAA are already able to provide useful information to stakeholders, there are many improvements necessary to provide more accurate, longer lead-time, and localized information. These improvements require a robust research effort, and especially a concerted effort to transfer research accomplishments, findings, and developments to operational efforts to improve end products. Research is critical to advancing a drought early warning system.
As such, the MAPP program has developed a robust relationship with drought practitioners, organizations such as the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) responsible for producing prediction products, and other groups responsible for providing information to decision-makers and managers.
Examples of research projects funded by MAPP with NIDIS support that impact and improve the quality of information include improvements to land models at NCEP that help better capture local sources of drought and improve predictions of drought recovery, better use of satellite information for advanced notification of developing droughts, and improving our understanding of how remote regions such as the warm Equatorial Atlantic Ocean or the Tropical Pacific influence rainfall variability and temperature extremes over the United States.
The knowledge, new techniques, and models developed by researchers funded by the MAPP program are ultimately entrained into NOAA's prediction systems, monitoring efforts, and forecast discussions resulting in better information for better preparedness.