Consistent messaging is a vital part of the Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) mission to deliver climate information and products. The United States Drought Monitor (USDM) serves as initial conditions for the CPC’s drought outlooks. Due to the 7-16 day time span between releases of the Seasonal Drought Outlook (SDO) on the third Thursday of each month and Monthly Drought Outlook (MDO) on the last day of each month, large changes may occur in the USDM. Since the valid periods for the drought outlooks overlap, forecast categorical inconsistencies may result between the two products, which can lead to conflicting messaging and cause confusion. In order to address this issue, the CPC will adjust the SDO at the end of each month immediately following the release of the MDO. This adjustment has the goal of eliminating inconsistencies between the drought outlooks to provide consistent outlook maps and a consistent message to end users. A complete review or forecast update of the entire domain is not part of this process - only conflicting areas will be assessed for consistency. If a consistency adjustment to the SDO is necessary based on the end-of-month assessment, SDO web images, Geographic Information System (GIS) files on the CPC FTP site (for data downloads), and GIS services (via the NOAA Integrated Dissemination Program) will be updated. A summary addressing the necessary adjustments will also be provided and added above the summary and narrative from the official SDO release. If no consistency adjustments are required for a given month, "No consistency adjustments to the Seasonal Drought Outlook were necessary" will instead be added above the summary and narrative from the official SDO release. Please note, the SDO summary and discussion from the official release on the 3rd Thursday of the month will remain unchanged, even in instances when consistency adjustments are made.
Please view this case study summarizing the new workflow.
Other Drought Links: