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Water Data and Science Committee Meeting Summary August 27, 2019 Webinar–Dr. John Christy, AL State Climatologist “Flash Droughts”

  1. Call to Order—Chair Amy Shallcross DRBC called to order at 10:03 a.m.
  • Introductions of Participants on the call: Amy Shallcross and Fanghui Chen, DRBA, Tom Littlepage, AL OWR; Sue Lowry, ICWP Executive Director; Adel Abdallah, WSWC; Peter Gill and Mabel Jones, WWDO; Matt Unruh; KWO; Mike Hill, PADEP; Joy Loughry, MNDNR; Ken Brazil, ANRC; Becca Emery, Kisters; Dr. John Christy, University of Alabama-Huntsville. 
  • Presentation by Dr. Christy, Alabama State Climatologist (pdf. of presentation can be found here)

A flash drought is one that catches us off guard.  If you look at a longer time period (1000+ years) our current drought events may not have been that unusual.  Prairie grasses have evolved to a different moisture loss and ET regime that the leafy forests found in the SE.  That leads to the area always being a week away from drought—not much soil moisture. Drought monitor developers are from mid-west with different plant cover and soil response. Dr. Christy has developed a crop water stress model that runs on 4 km grid—precip, wind, soil type, crop type.  June critical time for corn and other local crops that are sensitive to needing rain during that growth period. How did the Drought Monitor follow these conditions in 2012?  Only went to D2, well after crop damage had occurred.  Monitor should depict the most current time frame, not seasonal to capture these crop losses.  The timing needed to meet drought disaster of multiple weeks at D2, etc. do not occur in the Southeast.  Dr. Christy advocating for shorter time frames and bigger jumps between Drought categories. 

Q&A:  Water Supply index of crops—shorter time period. Future webinar could be focused upon the US Drought Monitor. 

  • Support letter for Modernization of NWISWeb to USGS leadership
    • One letter to Don Cline and a second to Jim Kreft on Technical topics

For the Kreft letter, take state attributions off and make more general bulleted list.  Add prioritizations in the last paragraph.  Amy and Sue will work on a revised draft and send it out to the committee for another review prior to sending to Jim. There were no further edits to the Don Cline letter beyond those already received. 

  • ICWP will be seeking issues prioritization from full membership at Mobile

Discussion on topics to add to the list from this committee—The list of items in the updated workplan will be reviewed for issues to add to the priority survey.  Peter Gill will send Sue additional background on the NHD topic for a survey question. 

  • Workplan development for the Committee

Recap of workplan development call on July 25—the list will be reviewed and web links added to programs mentioned.  Amy and Sue will determine if there is a better way to make this list available on the website rather than imbedded with the meeting summary.  Adel mentioned that some sort of prioritization might also be helpful. 

  • Announcements/Upcoming Events
    • Western States Water Council’s Water Information Systems workshop September 16-19 in Ft. Collins, CO

Adel said there may be room for a couple more participants, but the list of attendees needs to be to the USGS 2 weeks prior to the meeting for security. 

  • Recap of any action items
    • Editing of the Jim Kreft letter to take out state attributions and add prioritizations if possible
    • Peter Gill will send NHD background to Sue
    • Sue will contact Mark Svoboda about a Drought Monitor speaker for next webinar. 
  • Next call or webinar—Sue will contact Mark Svoboda or Brian Fuchs about their availability Oct. 1 2 or3 to discuss how the authors make decisions on the Drought Monitor map and Drought Impacts reporter. 

Meeting has been set for Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. Central with Mark Svoboda presenting.

Topics Identified by the Committee for Future Work:(Updated list based on 7/25/19 call)

Potential Work Plan Items (list provided as a reminder of issues raised by committee members as important to ICWP membership)

  1. Potential ICWP Support of USGS Efforts
    1. USGS Next Gen System
    1. Water-Use Data and Research—Remains a high priority
    1. Review of NAS Study on USGS Water Discipline
    1. Multi-Signature support letter for Streamgaging Programs
      1. Early spring letter signed by stakeholders
      1. Letter in the fall signed by states/interstates/tribes
    1. WD & S Committee participation with the Streamflow Information Collaborative Workgroup of the Advisory Committee on Water Information
    1. Climate/Weather Extremes
      1. Flash Droughts
      1. NIDIS/NDRP
      1. Baseline for determining Climate Change
      1. Paleo-drought studies
    1. Position Paper or other action to counter the current attacks on science and science’s role in decision making
    1. Other items the Committee could explore:
      1. Internet of Water
      1. Data Portals/Data Exchange
      1. Support for NRCS Snow Survey Program
    1. National Water Model Priorities
      1. Especially understanding the underlying models and how those could be used by others
    1. Tracking of Emerging Tools or Trends in Water Data/Science
      1. Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations
      1. Seasonal to Sub-Seasonal Forecasting
      1. NASA Western Water Office—Peter Gill and Adel will keep the committee apprised of any activities of interest beyond the western states. 

Committee Accomplishments:

Letter supporting WUDR and requesting analysis to Molly Maupin

GOES Support letter to FCC

            Committee mission is to educate ICWP members on current data and science trends and to advocate support for data and science programs at the national level.