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Foundational Science Area: Ecological Drought, Climate Extremes, and the Water Cycle in the North Central U.S.

Principal Investigator(s): 
Imtiaz Rangwala (CIRES, University of Colorado‐Boulder & Physical Sciences Division, NOAA ESRL)
Candida Dewes (CIRES, University of Colorado‐Boulder & Physical Sciences Division, NOAA ESRL); Joe Barsugli (CIRES/NOAA); Mike Hobbins (CIRES/NOAA); Jeff Lukas (CIRES); Gabriel Senay (EROS, USGS); Daniel McEvoy (DRI); Sanjiv Kumar (Auburn University)

In the North Central U.S., drought is a dominant driver of ecological, economic, and social stress. Drought conditions have occurred in the region due to lower precipitation, extended periods of high temperatures and evaporative demand, or a combination of these factors.

This project will continue ongoing efforts to identify and address climate science challenges related to drought, climate extremes, and the water cycle that are important for natural resource managers and scientists in the North Central region, to support adaptation planning.

To accomplish this goal, researchers will (1) provide data and synthesis on drought processes in the region and on how evaporative stress on ecosystems will change during the 21st century; (2) work with stakeholders to provide climate data that can be used to assess climate impacts; (3) improve the usability of an existing drought early warning and monitoring tool known as the Evaporative Drought Demand Index; and (4) develop a new drought monitoring tool to provide better information about moisture availability in soils. Researchers will also continue to develop and provide information on potential future climate conditions for specific areas that are of interest to stakeholders, in order to understand potential impacts and develop adaptation strategies.

This project team is part of the North Central Climate Science Center’s Climate Drivers Foundational Science Area Team, which supports foundational research and advice, guidance, and technical assistance to other NC CSC projects as they address climate science challenges that are important for land managers and ecologists in the region.

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For data, information, products, and more, visit the NCCWSC project page and ScienceBase page for this project. 

: “Arapaho National Forest, Wyoming - Credit: Alan Cressler”