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M. Hoerling, J. Eischeid, A. Kumar, R. Leung, A. Mariotti, K. Mo, S. Schubert, and R. Seager

for elevated risk of an extreme drought event, even though the precise timing of any single event was uncertain and the overall strength of the signal on seasonal-mean rainfall was quite small. Given the existing practices of operational drought prediction, what might have been the impact on the forecast process if various information contained in this assessment had been available in early 2012? It is useful to frame that question in the context of expected skill. The history of the operational

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Eric F. Wood, Siegfried D. Schubert, Andrew W. Wood, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Kingtse C. Mo, Annarita Mariotti, and Roger S. Pulwarty

, recreation economies, energy, and ecosystems. Recognizing the economic and social impacts from drought, the U.S. Congress in 2006 passed the National Integrated Drought Information System Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-430) with NOAA as the lead agency. The subsequent NIDIS Implementation Plan was developed to “[f]oster, and support, a research environment that focuses on risk assessment, forecasting, and management,” among other goals ( NIDIS 2007 , p. iii). Given its widespread support, NIDIS was

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Zengchao Hao and Amir AghaKouchak

affected 8.9 million people ( Guha-Sapir 2011 ). Thus, drought monitoring and prediction is of critical importance for risk assessment and decision making, as well as for taking prompt and effective actions to avoid–reduce the effects of droughts. The development of a comprehensive drought monitoring system capable of providing early warning of a drought’s onset, severity, persistence, and spatial extent in a timely manner is a critical component in establishing a national drought policy or strategy

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Hongshuo Wang, Jeffrey C. Rogers, and Darla K. Munroe

; McKee et al. 1993 ) and the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI; Vicente-Serrano et al. 2010 ). The SPI is defined by precipitation anomalies occurring over different time scales and is often used for drought monitoring because of its simplicity ( Guttman 1998 ). The SPI has great potential in risk assessment and decision making. The SPEI is also a multiscalar drought index that evaluates the balance between precipitation and potential evapotranspiration PET. The other

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Shahrbanou Madadgar and Hamid Moradkhani

snowmelt dominated watershed. According to the drought summary by Western Water Assessment (WWA) and National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) released in July 2012 ( WWA and NIDIS 2012 ), depletion of the snowpack and the early meltout in the spring of 2012 caused the below-average flow in April–July of 2012. During the past 118 yr, 2012 was the second warmest year on record in the state of Colorado. Regarding the inflows to Lake Powell, which reflects the runoff of the entire upper

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Jason A. Otkin, Martha C. Anderson, Christopher Hain, Iliana E. Mladenova, Jeffrey B. Basara, and Mark Svoboda

. Amer. Meteor. Soc. , 78 , 621 – 636 . Li, Y. P. , Ye W. , Wang M. , and Yan X. D. , 2009 : Climate change and drought: A risk assessment of crop-yield impacts . Climate Res. , 39 , 31 – 46 . McKee, T. B. , Doesken N. J. , and Kleist J. , 1993 : The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scale. Preprints, Eighth Conf. on Applied Climatology, Boston, MA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 179 – 184 . McKee, T. B. , Doesken N. J. , and Kleist J. , 1995 : Drought

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Xing Yuan, Eric F. Wood, Nathaniel W. Chaney, Justin Sheffield, Jonghun Kam, Miaoling Liang, and Kaiyu Guan

parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and northern Kenya. The related population displacement and price increase of food and fuel resulted in a serious humanitarian crisis ( Dutra et al. 2012 ; Peterson et al. 2012 ). Therefore, the provision of seasonal forecasts that can provide sufficient early warning has the potential to help the local governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to move from management of drought crises to management of drought risk, increasing the resilience to

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