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Biden-Harris Administration awards $4.9 million to advance drought monitoring and prediction in the West through the Investing in America agenda

Drought in Lake Oroville
Drought in Lake Oroville

The FY23 Climate Program Office’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program and National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) program joint funding opportunity supports seven new three-year projects to improve decision-makers’ capacity to protect life, property, and ecosystems in the American West. The seven new projects include:

  • Investigating local/remote moisture anomalies as monitors/predictors of Southwest U.S. droughts
    • This project will reevaluate the role of atmospheric moisture variability caused by the tropical oceans in the southwest United States droughts from May through August and explore its application to the monitoring and prediction of southwest U.S. droughts.
    • Project PI: Honghai Zhang, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Sponsored Research Administration, University of Houston (Houston, TX, 77204-5007)
      • Co-PI: Jie He, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA, 30332)
  • Award amount: $536,012
  • Towards predicting drought and subsequent water resource challenges at landscape-resolving scales across the western U.S.
    • This project’s overarching goal is to explain the changing nature of drought and access to water across the West in the 21st century and get this information to decision-makers so that residents, municipalities, and water agencies may protect life and property.
    • Project PI: Stefan Rahimi, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA, 90095)
      • Co-PI: Benjamin Bass, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA, 90095)
      • Co-PI: Alex Hall, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA, 90095)
    • Award amount: $745,235
  • Understanding and resolving a global discrepancy in near surface water vapor trends between models and observations
    • This project aims to understand why atmospheric water vapor has not increased over arid/semi-arid regions in observations, in contrast to our expectations from Earth system models.
    • Project PI: Isla Simpson, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (Boulder, CO, 80301-2252)
      • Co-PI: Karen McKinnon, University of California, Los Angeles (LA, California, 90095)
    • Award amount: $748,436
  • Advancing Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operation and Planning for the West Gulf through Integration of Climate Forecasts and Reservoir Water Balance Predictions
    • This project aims to improve accounting and monitoring of the water budget in the west and explore the utility and limitations of climate and Earth system models, and prediction systems in correctly simulating drought events.
    • Project PI: Yu Zhang, Dept of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, (Arlington, TX, 76019)
      • Co-PI: Dong-Jun Seo, University of Texas at Arlington, (Arlington, TX 76019) 
      • Co-PI: Sarah Fakhreddine, Carnegie Mellon University, (Pittsburgh, PA 15213)
      • Collaborators: Nelun Fernando (Texas Water Development Board), Kris Lander, (NWS West Gulf River Forecast Center), John Hunter, (US Army Corps of Engineers), Dagmar Llewellyn, (US Bureau of Reclamation, Water Management Division), Kathleen Holman, (Technical Service Center, Technical Service Center), Feiyu Lu, (NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab)
    • Award amount: $719,880
  • Understanding heatwave-snow drought relationships across the western United States
    • This research will help to unpack the long-term influence of warming and changing precipitation (or aridity) patterns on snowpack and will characterize how much heatwaves have historically influenced both isolated and serial snow drought conditions in the western United States.
    • PI: Laurie Huning, California State University, Long Beach, (Long Beach, CA, 90840)
      • Co-PI: Alan Rhoades, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, (Berkeley, CA 94720)
      • Co-PI: Dan McEvoy, Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center (Reno, NV, 89512)
    • Award amount: $747,127
  • Advancing understanding of plant-drought interactions for landscape to regional scale drought prediction
    • This study aims to better understand vegetation-atmosphere feedbacks that lead to intensifying and sustaining drought, and to increase understanding of interactions of vegetation within the physical climate system. 
    • PI: Aleya Kaushik, University of Colorado Boulder, (Boulder, CO, 80309)
      • Co-PI: Bharat Rastogi, University of Colorado Boulder, (Boulder, CO, 80305)
      • Co-PI: John Miller, NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, (Boulder, CO, 80305)
      • Co-PI: Lori Bruhwiler, NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, (Boulder, CO, 80305)
    • Award amount: $599,968
  • Improving hydroclimate forecasts by multi-model combination approaches for enhanced reservoir operations on the Colorado River
    • This project will develop new decision making support tools to improve Colorado River Basin streamflow forecast models used to make water resources decisions. The project will accomplish this by using NOAA’s advanced seasonal prediction systems and new machine learning techniques to improve 0-24 month lead predictions key to water management in the Basin. 
    • PI: Rajagopalan Balaji, Department of Civil, Env. and Arch. Eng. & NOAA/NCEP/NWS/CPC Fellow, CIRES, University of Colorado, (Boulder, CO 80309-0428)
      • Co-PI: Emerson LaJoie, NOAA/NCEP/NWS/CPC, (College Park, MD, 20740)
      • Collaborators: Sarah Baker, (Civil Engineer, Bureau of Reclamation), Seth Shanahan, (Colorado River, Southern Nevada Water Authority), Matthew Rosencrans, (NOAA/NCEP/NWS/CPC), Paul Miller, (NOAA-CBRFC) 
    • Award amount: $750,000

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