Evaluating Existing and Developing New Drought Indices Using Modeled Soil Moisture Time Series

Project Dates

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, CLIMAS researchers are assessing the impacts of precipitation variability and temperature changes on vegetation production and mortality and identifying optimal drought monitoring metrics. It focuses on the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (NCA) to examine longer-term drought impacts in this multi-use Bureau of Land Management NCA. The assessment shows how seasonality and precipitation timing and frequency relate to monthly scale precipitation-based drought indices. The modeling approach was also used to assess the performance of temperature-based indices and further explore the role of increasing temperatures in driving drought stress across the region. CLIMAS researchers have also been working with the Las Cienegas Watershed group as well and may be able to recommend specific drought indices for their ongoing State of the Watershed monitoring.