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Recap of July 2011 Austin Forum Mark Shafer Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Recap of July 2011 Austin Forum Mark Shafer Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Recap of July 2011 Austin Forum Mark Shafer Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program

2 July 2011 Drought Forum Austin, TX  National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)  Status and Evolution of the Drought  Seasonal Climate and Drought Outlook  South Central U.S. Droughts & La Nina

3 Drought Context: 5 months ago  Drought began in earnest in October 2010  Oct 2010-June 2011 driest 9-month period on record in TX  Heat building across the region  June hottest ever recorded in Texas  Development was consistent with La Nina  Climate variability most likely explained current drought conditions  Rapid onset and magnitude beyond observational record  Indicators pointed toward a re-development of La Nina in Fall 2011

4 Impacts of the Drought  Over 3.2 million acres burned in Texas  Drought losses at least $1.2 billion in Texas (at the time; current estimates in region near $8B)  Cattle Industry thinning herds  Will take years to recover their losses

5 When is Drought a News Story?  Clearly relate current conditions to historical conditions  Create simple graphics summarizing the current situation  Be proactive with local reporters  More timely communications from water utilities regarding upcoming water restrictions

6 State Drought Planning and Response  More frequent assessments and updates of states’ drought plans  Improve drought-related triggers and indicators for planning responses  Assure triggers are implemented  Enhance ongoing interactions between the research community and decision-makers

7 Summary  Guidance on product interpretation  Especially relating to drivers and drought forecasts  Preparing summaries for the public  Systematic assessments of impacts  Post products and narratives understandable to the lay-person  Include more state extension agents  Help obtaining data at the local or basin scale  Best practices document for improving coordination among federal, state, and local agencies

8 Webinars: Managing Drought

9 Webinar Series Goals  To improve communication among agencies and organizations in the Southern Plains who are being affected by the historic and exceptional drought  To provide information on available resources and assistance to help monitor and manage drought  To understand the impacts of drought in this region from the perspective of those who are tasked with managing it  To document impacts that will help improve the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor assessment and our understanding of how drought impacts evolve and decay

10 Webinar Format  2 nd and 4 th Thursdays of each month at 11:00 a.m. Central Time  Overview of regional drought conditions and outlook for next several weeks to months  led by the Drought Monitor authors  Discussion Topic  Alternating between an impact type (wildfire, agriculture) and a resource (monitoring tools, assistance programs)  Comments & Updates from State Climatologists  Open-ended time for questions and comments

11 Topics So Far  Historical Context and Evolution of the Drought (Sep 29)  La Nina and Prospects for Continued Drought (Oct 13)  Flash Drought (Oct 27)  Water Resources (Dec 1)  Cattle & Livestock (Dec 8) To sign up, see

12 PDF Summaries

13 Distributing Results  NIDIS Drought Portal (slides and pdf summaries)   SCIPP Website (pdf summaries)   Youtube (webinar recordings)   Facebook (pdf summaries)  Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program

14 Other Activities  Conversations with state officials  Updating state drought plans  Surveys of information flow  Numerous town hall meetings  Media Interviews  Informal Publications  OCS/Mesonet Ticker:  Climate Abyss:

15 Talking About Drought Can Be Tough…


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