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Serving: West

Some tools to monitor moisture conditions

USDA ARS WFP-ARS-soil-moisture-drought.jpg
Curious livestock look on as scientists extract a soil core to check soil moisture.
The VegDRI tool shows the current conditions, while the GRACE tool estimates anomalies.

The National Drought Mitigation Center and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers several tools to assess current, and forecast, moisture conditions.

Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDri): https://vegdri.unl.edu/

The VegDRI tool shows the current conditions per the date that the map was generated. It is a combined indicator of drought-related stress on vegetation, climate data, environmental characteristics (land cover, irrigated or rain-fed, and soil’s capacity to hold water for vegetation to use), elevation and ecological setting. 

GRACE-based Shallow Groundwater Indicator: https://nasagrace.unl.edu/

The GRACE tool estimates anomalies in root zone soil moisture, surface soil moisture, and groundwater to capture current water availability.

Grassland Production Forecast: https://grasscast.unl.edu/

Grass-Cast combines current weather data with seasonal climate outlooks inside of a grassland projection model to predict total pounds per acre of forage biomass. The new tool is only available for the Great Plains region right now. It will expand to the Western U.S. soon.

TAGS: Water
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