Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 14 items for

  • Author or Editor: Tonya Haigh x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Caily Schwartz
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Mark Svoboda
, and
Madeline Goebel

Abstract

Because flash drought is a relatively new phenomenon in drought research, defining the concept is critical for scientists and decision-makers. Having detrimental impacts on many sectors, it is important to have a consistent definition and understanding of flash drought, between experts and stakeholders, to provide early warning to the community. This study focuses on onset and progression of conditions and demonstrates the difference in flash drought identification for 15 events across six quantitative definitions of flash drought that use the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM). Five flash drought events have been studied in the literature while 10 additional events have been perceived as flash drought by stakeholders. The results show that two of six definitions consistently capture the earliest onset of flash drought and include a large percent area in the identification. A qualitative analysis of management challenges and needs determined by stakeholders was completed using survey data. The results found that managing impacts and better communication and education were the top challenges and more data and enhanced and efficient communication as the top needs to better monitor, manage, and respond to flash droughts. The results demonstrate the need for assessing the characteristics of the definitions to enhance communication and monitoring strategies for large and small-scale flash droughts.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to better understand how different numerical flash drought definitions characterize multiple flash drought events and how these definitions are useful in addressing the needs and challenges of stakeholders. This is important because definitions may capture different areas in flash droughts, which can impact how end users identify a flash drought. Further, this study uses events identified by the literature and by people familiar with drought monitoring. From these findings, definitions that capture flash drought earliest would help address the challenge of rapid onset and the need of quicker data. Further, definitions by sector would be beneficial to address the scale of impacts. This study identifies the importance of definitions for early warning systems.

Open access
Emile Elias
,
Brian Fuchs
,
Joel Lisonbee
,
Tonya Bernadt
,
Viktorya Martinez
, and
Tonya Haigh

Abstract

The 2018 exceptional drought over the Colorado Plateau motivated unprecedented responses by individuals and organizations. Some of these responses made clear that proactive adaptive measures were fundamental to drought resilience. Climate service organizations (CSOs) supporting and observing these responses realized the utility of a network to share and document successful drought responses. In February 2020, a small group of CSOs and resource managers (RMs) met to envision the Southwest Drought Learning Network (DLN) to align with other existing efforts, but with the specific goal of enabling peer-to-peer learning to build resilience to future droughts. Since then, the network has grown into five organized teams focused on specific aspects of building drought resilience. Team activities include sharing case studies to help others learn from past experiences, hosting monthly drought briefings that introduce drought data and management tools, identifying information needed to support critical management decisions, innovating and sharing new and traditional drought monitoring technologies, and building drought resilience with indigenous communities. The network allows for collaboration and leveraging partner resources and strengths. The DLN website (https://dln.swclimatehub.info/) hosts more information about network teams and activities. This innovative network continues to grow in response to management needs and water scarcity in the region. For the benefit of others who may be considering a similar network and supporting peer-to-peer learning, we document the history, process, and lessons learned regarding the Southwest DLN.

Open access
Tsegaye Tadesse
,
Deborah Bathke
,
Nicole Wall
,
Jacob Petr
, and
Tonya Haigh
Full access
Tonya R. Haigh
,
Jason A. Otkin
,
Molly Woloszyn
,
Dennis Todey
, and
Charlene Felkley

Abstract

Agricultural production in the U.S. Midwest is vulnerable to drought, and specialty crop producers are an underserved audience for monitoring information and decision-support tools. We investigate the decision-making needs of apple, grape, and cranberry growers using a participatory process to develop crop-specific decision calendars. The process highlights growers’ decisions and information needs during the winter dormant, growing, harvest, and postharvest seasons. Apple, grape, and cranberry growers tend to be concerned with the effects of short-term drought on current crop quality and quantity, while also considering the long-term drought effect on the health of perennial plants and future years’ production. We find gaps in drought information particularly for tactical and strategic decision-making. We describe the use of decision calendars to identify points of entry for existing drought monitoring resources and tools, and to highlight where additional research and tool development is needed.

Significance Statement

While drought causes agricultural losses in the U.S. Midwest, more is known about the impacts and decision-support needs of commodity row crop growers in the region than those of perennial specialty crop growers. We find opportunities for climate information providers to tailor drought information delivery to perennial fruit growers according to the season, the parameters that are relevant to their decisions, and the timeframe of information needed for operational, tactical, and strategic decision-making.

Full access
Tsegaye Tadesse
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Nicole Wall
,
Andualem Shiferaw
,
Ben Zaitchik
,
Shimelis Beyene
,
Getachew Berhan
, and
Jacob Petr
Full access
Jason A. Otkin
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Anthony Mucia
,
Martha C. Anderson
, and
Christopher Hain

Abstract

The evolution of a flash drought event, characterized by a period of rapid drought intensification, is assessed using standard drought monitoring datasets and on-the-ground reports obtained via a written survey of agricultural stakeholders after the flash drought occurred. The flash drought impacted agricultural production across a five-state region centered on the Black Hills of South Dakota during the summer of 2016. The survey asked producers to estimate when certain drought impacts, ranging from decreased soil moisture to plant stress and diminished water resources, first occurred on their land. The geographic distribution and timing of the survey responses were compared to the U.S. Drought Monitor and to datasets depicting anomalies in evapotranspiration, precipitation, and soil moisture. Overall, the survey responses showed that this event was a multifaceted drought that caused a variety of impacts across the region. Comparisons of the survey reports to the drought monitoring datasets revealed that the topsoil moisture dataset provided the earliest warning of drought development, but at the expense of a high false alarm rate. Anomalies in evapotranspiration were closely aligned to the survey reports of plant stress and also provided a more focused depiction of where the worst drought conditions were located. This study provides evidence that qualitative reports of drought impacts obtained via written surveys provide valuable information that can be used to assess the accuracy of high-resolution drought monitoring datasets.

Full access
Tonya R. Haigh
,
Douglas R. Kluck
,
Dennis P. Todey
, and
Laurie Nowatzke

Abstract

Evaluation of near-term (sub)seasonal climate services’ impact is challenging but necessary for ensuring that society’s needs for actionable information are met. We use a descriptive study of the monthly North Central Climate and Drought Webinar Series at two time points (2014 and 2021) to examine societal impacts on capacity-building, sense-making, fact-establishing, communication, decision-making, and social-ecological systems. The North Central Climate and Drought Webinar Series arose following a 2011 climate disaster and established itself over the next ten years as a monthly resource for climate and impact information translation and interaction. Survey respondents indicated early benefits related to understanding how to find and use climate information and improved conceptual understanding of climate issues and problems. Many used webinar information to compare with other sources of data or to incorporate into their own communications, uses which can increase overall societal trust in climate information over time. Attendees’ self-reported capacity for using climate information in decision-making and actual use of information in specific decisions or management context increased as the webinar series approached the ten-year mark. Most participants did not note financial or other social-ecological outcomes of their use of the webinars. We conclude by recommending that climate services be evaluated over sufficiently long time periods to capture evolving impacts, and that evaluations incorporate impact rubrics that measure subtle yet important societal capacities and decision-making processes related to climate risk management.

Restricted access
Tonya Haigh
,
Vikram Koundinya
,
Chad Hart
,
Jenna Klink
,
Maria Lemos
,
Amber Saylor Mase
,
Linda Prokopy
,
Ajay Singh
,
Dennis Todey
, and
Melissa Widhalm

Abstract

The pathways between climate information producers and agricultural decision-makers are evolving and becoming more complex, with information increasingly flowing through both public and for-profit intermediaries and organizations. This study characterizes the various channels of climate information flow, as well as the needs and preferences of information intermediaries and end users. We use data from a 2016 survey of farmers and agricultural advisors in 12 U.S. Corn Belt states to evaluate perceptions of climate information and its usability. Our findings reinforce the view that much weather and climate information is not reaching farmers explicitly but also suggest that farmers may not be aware of the extent to which the information is packaged with seed, input, or management recommendations. For farmers who are using weather and climate information, private services such as subscription and free tools and applications (apps) are as influential as publicly provided services. On the other hand, we find that agricultural advisors are engaged users and transformers of both public and private sources of weather/climate information and that they choose sources of information based on qualities of salience and credibility. Our results suggest that climate information providers could improve the use of information in agriculture by engaging advisors and farmers as key stakeholders and by strategically employing multiple delivery pathways through the private and public sectors.

Full access
Mary Noel
,
Deborah Bathke
,
Brian Fuchs
,
Denise Gutzme
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Michael Hayes
,
Markéta Poděbradská
,
Claire Shield
,
Kelly Smith
, and
Mark Svoboda
Full access
Kelly Helm Smith
,
Mark E. Burbach
,
Michael J. Hayes
,
Patrick E. Guinan
,
Andrew J. Tyre
,
Brian Fuchs
,
Tonya Haigh
, and
Mark D. Svoboda

Abstract

Drought-related decision-making and policy should go beyond numeric hydrometeorological data to incorporate information on how drought affects people, livelihoods, and ecosystems. The effects of drought are nested within environmental and human systems, and relevant data may not exist in readily accessible form. For example, drought may reduce forage growth, compounded by both late-season freezes and management decisions. An effort to gather crowdsourced drought observations in Missouri in 2018 yielded a much higher number of observations than did previous related efforts. Here we examine 1) the interests, circumstances, history, and recruitment messaging that coincided to produce a high number of reports in a short time; 2) whether and how information from volunteer observers was useful to state decision-makers and to U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) authors; and 3) potential for complementary use of stakeholder and citizen science reports in assessing trustworthiness of volunteer-provided information. State officials and the Cattlemen’s Association made requests for reports, clearly linked to improving the accuracy of the USDM and the related financial benefit. Well-timed requests provided a focus for people’s energy and a reason to invest their time. State officials made use of the dense spatial coverage that observers provided. USDM authors were very cautious about a surge of reports coinciding closely with financial incentives linked to the Livestock Forage Disaster program. An after-the-fact comparison between stakeholder reports and parallel citizen science reports suggests that the two could be complementary, with potential for developing protocols to facilitate real-time use.

Open access