The Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System to develop the Kentucky Drought Early Warning System.
“For Kentucky, water is an increasingly valuable resource,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, state climatologist and director of the Kentucky Climate Center. “Kentucky typically has an abundant quantity of water, but projections of a changing climate over the coming decades suggest that our region on average will become wetter in the winter and spring with drier conditions in the summer and fall. When combined with higher summertime temperatures, we are likely to become more vulnerable to drought, making the management of our state’s water resources even more important than it is today.”
WCLU News spoke with Dr. Foster about what this means to area farmers.
Foster also said this goes beyond agriculture, and can help local utilities notice hydrological patterns.
Ultimately, Dr. Foster says the grant will help provide more and much-needed data for everyone.
The project to develop the Kentucky Drought Early Warning System has four components:
1. Soil Monitoring
2. Data Visualization and Analysis: which is a web-based data dashboard will be developed “that will enable users to assess changing climatic and hydrological conditions using data from the Kentucky Mesonet combined with data on stream flows, reservoir levels and reported drought impacts from across Kentucky.
3. Targeted Engagement with Managers and Responders:
4. Public Messaging via Information Graphics