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END InSight: El Niño-Drought Initiative
In July 2002, CLIMAS launched the El Niño-Drought Initiative (END InSight) as a rapid response to stakeholder needs for climate information about ongoing drought and forecasted El Niño impacts in Arizona and New Mexico.
The project incorporated insights from previous research on the use of El Niño information by decision makers, including a pilot project conducted by NOAA in California during the 1997-98 El Niño. The information gathered during the course of the project will be translated into a series of articles, reports, scholarly papers, and web pages designed to increase public understanding of climate and its impacts in the Southwest and to encourage new research and development activities that result in more and better climate information and forecasts.
At the onset of the project, CLIMAS invited 35 stakeholders from different sectors in Arizona and New Mexico to receive and evaluate information products over the course of a year. The participants received monthly climate packets, including summaries of recent conditions, long-range forecasts, and background materials on drought, El Niño, and other special topics. The participants provided feedback on the packet materials through a monthly questionnaire and telephone interviews, which shaped what information stakeholders want and how to present the information.
To reach a wider audience, CLIMAS began publishing the monthly climate information generated for stakeholders during the project on our public website and providing climate summaries to state legislators. The success of this product prompted CLIMAS to continue monthly publications, which became the project the Southwest Climate Outlook (SWCO).