Texas and the surrounding states have observed one of the driest winter and spring seasons on record. To respond to these extreme drought conditions, NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), the Regional Climate Services Director for the Southern Region, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the National Drought Mitigation Center, the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program RISA, the NWS Southern Region, and the Department of the Interior hosted the South Central U.S. Drought Impacts and Assessment Workshop on July 7 in Austin, Texas.
Fig. 4.4. Observations of sea ice thickness. (a) Sea ice thickness derived from ESA CryoSat-2 (background map) and NASA Operation IceBridge measurements (color coded lines) for March/April 2015. Ice thickness distributions obtained by Operation IceBridge in spring for 2009 - 2015 in (b) the Central Arctic and (c) the Beaufort and Chukchi seas (denoted by the dashed black lines). Note the different frequency (vertical) scales in (b) and (c).
The Forum focused on providing detailed assessments of present drought conditions and impacts to date, comparisons with past drought events, and predictions for the next season through next year. Representatives from over 40 institutions representing water resources, agriculture and livestock, forestry and wildfire management interests and state and Federal agencies and offices were in attendance.
The purpose of the meeting was to communicate the severity of the current drought and the likelihood of the drought improving or deteriorating in the coming season. The overarching message of the Forum was that given current drought conditions, the expected above-normal temperatures, and the precipitation outlook, there is less than 5% chance drought conditions will end in July-August-September.