USGS Integrated Drought Science Plan

Science Center Objects

The USGS National Integrated Drought Science Plan seeks to improve understanding of drought processes and impacts on human and natural systems through coordinated and multidisciplinary data collection, synthesis, analysis, and predictions generated from Mission Areas and a variety of partnerships. The long-term goal is to provide decision support tools and technologies to stakeholders for enhancing drought resilience and adaptation.

Through our integrated drought science effort, we will gain a more useful understanding of complex interactions that drive drought and their impacts (and associated uncertainties); develop robust models to predict drought risk and vulnerability for planning and mitigation; advance efforts in coordinated drought science that will lead to development of drought monitoring systems; and deliver decision support science to help federal, state, tribal, and local stakeholders prepare for and manage future across the United States. Our integrated drought science effort includes:

Data Collection and Integration

  • Strengthen data observation and monitoring networks to maximize spatial and temporal coverage, provide reliable operation and near-real-time delivery, increase interoperability with other agencies, and improve early warning
  • Improve data collection during and after drought events to gather critical, ephemeral information
  • Develop and advance new monitoring tools and technologies
  • Facilitate citizen science for crowdsourced data related to water availability

Understanding Drought Processes and Impacts

  • Synthesize datasets and models to better understand drought drivers, responses, and interactions
  • Promote targeted research on drought processes, extreme events, impacts, risk, and response
  • Develop robust models to predict drought risk and vulnerability for decision-making 
  • Examine and synthesize ecological impacts of drought for conservation management
  • Promote multi-disciplinary research, integrated assessments, predictive modeling, and knowledge transfer to address drought complexity and uncertainty

Drought Planning and Decision-Support

  • Predict future drought vulnerability of species and ecosystems with comprehensive understanding of drought processes, ecosystem impacts, and recovery times
  • Deliver decision-support guides that link research, monitoring, forecasting, and early warning with risk planning and management  
  • Provide technical assistance to address stakeholders’ needs
  • Create and deliver effective multimedia to communicate drought through partnerships with stakeholders, policymakers, and the public