From: NOAA
Published December 5, 2017 08:14 AM

A new NOAA tool is helping to predict US droughts, global famine

Agriculture is the economic engine that powers the Great Plains, the vast stretch of treeless prairie that covers parts of 10 states – and where the next drought can appear with little warning.

Now there’s a powerful new tool to help provide farmers and ranchers in the arid western United States critical early indications of oncoming droughts, and its name is EDDI.

EDDI, or the Evaporative Demand Drought Index, is the brainchild of Mike Hobbins, a CIRES scientist working at NOAA’s Boulder lab.

“Evaporative demand is the thirst of the atmosphere for any water: on the surface, in lakes and rivers, in the ground or in plants,” Hobbins said. “Drought is a function of supply and demand. Surface moisture is really hard to measure because a major component is soil moisture, which varies dramatically over very short distances. Evaporative demand is relatively easy to measure because it’s based on air temperature, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation, which we measure all the time.”

 

Continue reading at NOAA.

Image via NOAA.

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