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Contact:  Marty Hoerling

PSD-Led Assessment Report Released on 2012 Great Plains Drought

April 11, 2013

Marty Hoerling of ESRL's Physical Sciences Division (PSD) and Roger Pulwarty of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) were key presenters at a virtual briefing on Thursday, April 11th, which introduced a new report entitled An Interpretation of the Origins of the 2012 Central Great Plains Drought. The report describes the morphology of the 2012 summer U.S. central Great Plains drought, placing the event into a historical context, and providing a diagnosis of its proximate and underlying causes. Although technical in nature, the report addresses questions that are of general interest to NIDIS drought monitoring and forecasting stakeholders. Specifically, it addresses questions such as "Why did the 2012 drought happen the way it did?" including "Why did it occur over the Central Great Plains?", and it retrospectively discusses how the drought was predicted and whether it was inherently predictable. The report also highlights a number of scientific challenges, including the authors' perspectives on improving applicability and utility of drought information.

The report, written by Hoerling, Siegfried Schubert (NASA GSFC), Kingtse Mo (NOAA NCEP/CPC) and members of the Drought Task Force (DTF) Narrative Team, was prepared in the framework of a partnership between the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) program and the Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program that organizes the Drought Task Force.

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