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Scientists unveil new satellite-based global drought severity index

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Enhanced monitoring tool adds groundwater storage to assessment factors

Just in time for the holidays, researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions are rolling out a new satellite-based drought severity index for climate watchers worldwide.

Relying on data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission, the index adds terrestrial water storage (groundwater) to drought assessments, augmenting commonly used tools most often based on the amount of precipitation.

“Reliable information on the frequency and intensity of drought conditions is of utmost importance to climate and meteorological scientists and government officials – and to assess drought impacts on vegetation, food production and water resources,” said Isabella Velicogna, UCI professor of Earth system science and co-author of a recently published paper describing the drought severity index in the Journal of Hydrometeorology. “This new tool provides for accurate and continuous drought monitoring, which is necessary for effective water management and impact assessment.”

Continue reading at University of California Irvine

Image via Meng Zhao, University of California Irvine