Drought Task Force Organization


This Drought Task Force is follow-up to first group, which ran October 2011-September 2014. The overall goals of the NOAA Drought Task Force are to achieve significant advances in understanding and in the ability to monitor and predict drought over North America. The research results are expected to help advance official national drought products, the development of early warning systems by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and experimental drought monitoring and prediction activities at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The Task Force will coordinate with other relevant national and international efforts including the emerging National Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) capabilities, and the international effort to develop a Global Drought Information System (GDIS).

This Drought Task Force will start its activities in October 2014 and will have a duration of 3 years.

MAPP Task Force Concept and Terms of Reference


Lead: Marty Hoerling, NOAA ESRL

Co-Lead: Mark Svoboda, University of Nebraska, Drought Mitigation Center

Co-Lead: Eric Wood, Princeton University

Co-Lead: Randy Koster, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

- To view the full Participants list, please visit the Participants page.

Activities and Organization

While it is anticipated that progress will largely be achieved based on the research objectives of the individual MAPP-funded research projects, the Task Force has defined coordinating activities that are meant to facilitate the advancement of the overall research goals. In particular, the Task Force has developed a Drought Test-bed that individual research groups can use to test/evaluate methods and ideas. Central to this a focus on three high profile North American droughts (1998-2004 western US drought, 2006-2007 SE US drought, 2011-current Tex-Mex drought) to facilitate collaboration among projects, the development of metrics to assess the quality of monitoring and prediction products, and the development of an experimental drought monitoring and prediction system that incorporates and assesses recent advances.

The Task Force is organized in working groups focusing on the three major aspects of the test bed:

  • WGI Metrics: To define and apply metrics to evaluate advances in drought monitoring and prediction.
  • WGII Case studies: To analyze drought case studies integrating all aspects of drought research.
  • WGIII Experimental System: To incorporate research advances in an experimental drought monitoring and prediction system and assess improvements.
The Drought Task Force has organized the following planned activities
  • On monthly calls, the Task Force will discuss science issues relevant to drought, stimulating progress on basic drought science and research issues and providing a platform for the group to discuss their research with each other.
  • Twice a year, the Task Force will produce drought narratives addressing current North American drought conditions and possible future droughts to facilitate discussion on drought causes, develop narrative explanations, and describe relevant research results. The narrative activities will result in an Annual Drought Report describing and explaining, from a research perspective, the droughts observed during each past year.
  • Research to operational capabilities activities will take place on a six-monthly basis and will focus primarily on the three historical test bed droughts selected by the Task Force working group on Case Studies. This activity will help assess recent progress in drought monitoring and prediction, and will provide a benchmark against which new operational and service capabilities can be tested.
  • research to operational capabilities(RtC, for short - assessing recent progress in drought monitoring and prediction, with an eye towards advancing operational/service capabilities, building on the metrics and case studies framework developed during
  • The Task Force is preparing a journal special collection titled "Advances in Drought Monitoring and Prediction". This will feature over 20 papers from the Task Force.
  • An AGU 2012 Fall meeting session titled "Advancing Drought Monitoring and Prediction with Applications to Decision Making" (H073) has been proposed by the Drought Task Force leads, and will feature many presentations from this group.
  • A Drought Task Force meeting took place on October 25-26th, 2012 in Fort Collins, Colorado. More information about the meeting is available here.


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