CLIVAR-GEWEX Drought Information Group (DIG)

The WCRP Drought Interest Group (DIG) was formed as part of the WCRP Extremes crosscutting activity following a joint GEWEX-CLIVAR meeting in 2008. DIG aims to identify and leverage current drought research activities already underway within WCRP, especially under CLIVAR and GEWEX, through the activities of the VAMOS panel, the US CLIVAR Drought Working Group, and the GEWEX-Coordinated Energy and Water Cycle Observations Project (CEOP), etc. DIG will also assess the missing links in drought research and coordinate drought research at an international level in order to advance, in particular, predictive understanding of extremes.


APEC Climate Symposium 2013

We are delighted to present to you the First Announcement for the APEC Climate Symposium 2013. This document provides more information about the theme, goals, and program of the event. The theme of this year's symposium is "Regional Cooperation on Drought Prediction Science to Support Disaster Preparedness and Management" and the event will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from November 11 - 13.

As with previous APCC events, this symposium will present the latest scientific and technological developments in climate prediction and climate information applications. The event will bring scientists and researchers together with representatives from government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector in order to foster a col! laborative dialogue on drought prediction and management. The 3-day conference will include presentations on drought prediction at multiple time-scales, drought impact assessment, the application of advance climate information to decision-making, the development of innovative Early Warning Systems, and methods for disseminating drought information to relevant stakeholders.

We estimate around 100 international and local participants will attend the symposium. We are working closely with the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG), the local hosts, to make this a meaningful and productive event. We would also appreciate it if you would circulate this First Announcement among your professional network and encourage talented researchers and scientists to submit abstracts.

Please feel free to contact Ms. Nina Horstmann ( or Ms. Sooyang Joo ( if you would like to request more information about this year's symposium.


Workshop on Drought Predictability and Prediction

DIG has now embarked on identifying strategic research needs in drought prediction and encouraging increased coordination of regional and international drought-research activities. A WCRP White Paper on ‘Drought Predictability and Prediction in a Changing Climate: Assessing Current Capabilities, User Requirements, and Research Priorities’ has been developed, to assess current prediction capabilities against user needs with the aim of identifying areas that would benefit from international coordination. A workshop was held on this topic on 2-4 March 2011 in Barcelona, Spain: WCRP Workshop on Drought Predictability and Prediction in a Changing Climate: Assessing Current Knowledge and Capabilities, User Requirements and Research Priorities.

Three major action items came out of the workshop, which were to 1) develop a drought cataglogue, 2) define case studies, and 3) develop a drought early warning system. These action items are further detailed in the workshop report.

Workshop on Global Drought Information System

The Eurpean Space Agency hosted the Global Drought Information System (GDIS) workshop at its facility in Frascati, Italy, from 11-13 April 2012. This was organised by the DIG under the third action item of the Barcelona meeting; to develop a drought early warning system.

Read the workshop report here.


Amir AghaKouchak
University of California, USA

I am currently involved in developing a multi-sensor satellite-based gauge adjusted global precipitation data set that can be used for a variety of hydrometeorologic application including drought detection, monitoring and analysis. We, at the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing - University of California Irvine, are now extending satellite-based precipitation data back to 1983 when IR data became available. The aim of our work is to build a dataset for climate studies including drought analysis and monitoring.

Pihnas Alpert
Tel-Aviv University, Israel

As you all know Israel, and the Mediterranean in general, are on a very sharp climatic gradient and in recent years I looked carefully in the observations as well as regional climate modeling we perform in Tel-Aviv Univ, in order to monitor and better understand what may happen in the near future with the drought line.

You are welcome to see my publications and download in my website:

Ileana Bladé
University of Barcelona, Spain

Matlala Boshomane
Limpopo Department of Agriculture, Polokwane

Eleanor Burke
UK Met Office, UK

Wenju Cai
Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia

In the context that Australia has been experiencing the worst drought over a century, much of my research is on (1) whether the rainfall deficiency is a manifestation of global warming-induced changing weather pattern, (2) how the changing climate with rising temperature might exacerbate the impact, and (3) how the drought condition might project onto extreme events such as heat waves and bushfires.

As our rainfall variations are controlled by what I called the three-headed dog "ENSO, the Indian Ocean Dipole, and the SAM". Linking to the above issues are bigger questions of how each head of the dog is changing, whether that is consistent with what is expected from their response to climate change, through to the question of how the frequency, severity and duration of drought may change in a warming world.

Tereza Cavazos
Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Mexico

I work in the department of Physical Oceanography in CICESE, a research center in Baja California, Mexico. I am currently the CICESE's PI for the Baja California State Climate Action Plan ( In this project, we produced ensemble regional climate change scenarios for NW Mexico and the SW USA, and the future looks pretty dry, so I am interested in studying future droughts in this region with CMIP5 (when the data is available). I am a member of the Variability of American Monsoons (VAMOS/CLIVAR) group and I've been working on extreme rainfall events in the North American monsoon region.

My latest paper on extreme rainfall is:
Arriaga-Ramirez, S., and T. Cavazos (2010), Regional trends of daily precipitation indices in Northwest Mexico and the Southwest United States, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2009JD013248, in press.(accepted 6 April 2010)

Valery Detemmerman
WCRP, Switzerland

Nazzareno Diodato
Met European Research Observatory

My homepage is here.

Hervé Douville
Météo France, France

Anmin Duan
State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG), China

Tayeb El Hassani
Insitut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Morocco

I am agronomist by training (Moroccan, French and British Schools of thought) which allows me to have a large spectrum of interactions with experts on the subject. I have been Professor of Agronomy at IAV Faculty, Morocco from 1975 to 2007, with strong interest in drought research since 1999. Since then till now I have been working on R&D projects including drought essentially in the Mediterranean and in the Near East. Within IAV Faculty, I was pleased to be part of a Network including Prof. Wilhite (ex- Director of NDMC: National Drought Mitigation Centre, now Dean of School of Natural Resources, Univ of Nebraska) and other colleagues in Research and Higher Education Institutions in the Mediterranean. We investigated a great deal of the different facets of drought preparedness and we produced a useful interactive manual for researchers, university students and managers. In IAV, I set up a multidisciplinary team which is now associated with the preparation of an European Union Project on "Drought and climate change in Africa" , coordinated by Wageningen University and, if selected, it will be financed by European Commission, as was the case with previous projects.

In 2008, I was offered an assignment as senior consultant with FAO Regional Office for the Near East, and I regretably left my Institution - but hopefully I continued to work on strategic drought planning issues in the region. A more practical manual on drought management in the Near East was produced with the collaboration of the Water management experts of FAO and NDMC. More recently in February 2010, I was invited by UNESCO to organize a Workshop on drought preparedness strategy for Iraq (as I previously coordinated an FAO project on Drought preparedness strategy for Iran). 

Matthew England
University of New South Wales, Australia

My core interests revolve around the role of the oceans in climate variability and climate change, including the physics/dynamics/impacts of the major modes of variability (ENSO, the IOD [if it really is a mode], the Southern Annular Mode, the NAO, PSA etc).  I have a Southern Hemisphere bias (I currently co-Chair the CLIVAR Southern Ocean regional panel), but am equally interested in climate variability at mid-high northern latitudes.  Most of my work involves the analysis of observations and coupled climate models (from simple ICCMs through to full GCMs), although I also stray into AGCM work, coupled ice-ocean models, and a variety of analytic approaches.  For more details of my research interests, publications etc. see here.

Brad Garanganga
Southern Africa Develoment Community Drought Monitoring Centre (SADC DMC), Botswana

Ge Gao
China Meteorological Administration, China

Pavel Groisman
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, USA

My major scientific interests are in hydrological and meteorological characteristics of droughts (including "fire" weather) and their trend analyses in changing climate. My three latest papers devoted to this topic are:

  • Groisman, P.Ya., B.G. Sherstyukov, V.N. Razuvaev, R.W. Knight, J.G. Enloe, N.S. Stroumentova, P. H. Whitfield, E. Førland, I. Hannsen-Bauer, H. Tuomenvirta, H. Aleksandersson, A. V. Mescherskaya, and T.R. Karl, 2007: Potential forest fire danger over Northern Eurasia: Changes during the 20th century. Global and Planetary Change, 56, issue 3-4, 371-386.
  • Groisman, P.Ya. and R.W. Knight, 2007:  Prolonged dry episodes over North America: New tendencies emerging during the last 40 years.  Advances in Earth Science, 22, No.11, 1191-1207.
  • Groisman, P.Ya. and R.W. Knight, 2008: Prolonged dry episodes over the conterminous United States: New tendencies emerging during the last 40 years.  J. Climate, 21, No. 9, 1850–1862.

Richard Harding
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK

Willem Landman
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa

Willem A. Landman is employed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa. He develops seasonal rainfall and temperature forecasting systems for southern Africa and global SST forecast systems. These systems are based on a multi-model forecast approach which includes forecasts from global models being run at the CSIR, the University of Cape Town, the South African Weather Service, and international institutions such as the International Research Institute for Climate and Society in New York, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. He has published widely on seasonal forecasting systems, including a recent paper in the International Journal of Climatology entitled “Multi-model forecast skill for mid-summer rainfall over southern Africa” which, among other issues, demonstrates the predictability of mid-summer drought conditions over southern Africa.

Rick Lawford
University of Manitoba, Canada

David Legler

I direct the US CLIVAR Project Office in Washington, DC. US CLIVAR is very supportive of research aimed at improving our understanding of the predictability of drought on time scales of weeks to centuries. US CLIVAR supports the activities of the  WCRP Drougt Interest Group. In my research career, I had many scientific interests, including ocean remote sensing, ocean-atmosphere interactions, and the use of climate information in agriculture.

Brad Lyon
International Research Insitute for Climate and Society (IRI), USA

I'm a climate research scientist who has been working at the IRI here at Columbia university for about the past 11 years.  My work has focused on observational and model diagnostic studies, primarily of seasonal-to-interannual climate variability but more recently also in the area of climate change. I have long been interested in the topic of drought in terms of its physical attributes, predictability and impacts.  In addition to climate diagnostic studies (ENSO-related, drought and heat waves, etc.) I've worked in the Philippines to develop probabilistic seasonal inflow forecasts for the Angat (primary) reservoir in Luzon and on other applied climate projects at the IRI.   I'm currently working on a project to develop probabilistic drought (index) prediction tools for the US and Mexico based on statistical-dynamical modeling approaches.

My personal page at the IRI is here.

Annarita Mariotti
University of Maryland, USA and Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Italy

A major focus of my research work in recent years has been to study climate and water cycle variability in the Mediterranean region and parts of Southwest Asia. I've explored interannual variations associated with mid-latitude and tropical influences, and the impacts on water resources and ecosystems. Decadal to centennial changes in Mediterranean water cycle, including decadal predictability are current research interests.

I'm involved in Med-CLIVAR and HyMeX (HYdrological cycle in the Mediterranean EXperiment), a 10-year program to study water cycle variability in the Mediterranean, including droughts. I'm a Research Scientist at the University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and I'm also affiliated with the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA).

My homepage is here.

Pierre-Phillipe Mathieu
European Space Agency, Italy

Roberto Mechoso
University of California, USA

Kingtse Mo
NOAA Climate Prediction Center, USA

I have been working at the Climate Prediction Center for almost 20 years. I am interested in diagnostics and forecasts. Recently, I am involved in the drought related research and operation at cpc. We are monitoring drought over the United States. Each month, we do drought briefing for our drought monitor authors and drought forecasters.

Sumant Nigam
ESSIC, University of Maryland, USA

Sumant Nigam's interest in droughts dates back to the late 1990s - to Mathew Barlow's doctoral research. The related papers (Nigam et al. 1999Barlow et al. 2002) were among the first to observationally document the influence of Pacific decadal SST variability on North American hydroclimate, making the case for a significant SST role in generation of North American droughts. Subsequent work with colleague, Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas (20052006), showed that atmospheric and terrestrial water cycles over the Great Plains were often misrepresented in the leading atmospheric-land surface general circulation models on account of a greater role for evapotranspiration (and heightened land-atmosphere interactions) in the models, limiting the models' utility in analysis of drought mechanisms. More recent work with Bin Guan (readied for submission) shows the striking role of the Atlantic basin, especially Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, in generation of North American droughts, particularly during spring and fall. The analysis with Guan leads to remarkable reconstruction of most (but not all) droughts, enabling evaluation of the basin roles and influence mechanisms.

Other drought related publications

Leonard Njau
African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), Niger

I have been involved in climate research focusing on prediction of extreme climate events, the droughts and floods among others.The attached is one of my project proposals for a research programme on development of drought early warning and prediction tools for the Sahel (Niger) that I initiated sometime back. I recently participated in the formulation of project ALERT (Africa Long-range Early waRning systems for droughT), an EU FP7-AFRICA-2010 call coordinated by UK Met Office and I was designated to lead Work Package 6 on Early Warning Systems and products. In 2009 I submitted an article on the title Drought Monitoring and Prediction in Africa; Improving Drought Early Warning in the Context of Drought Preparedness and development of Mitigation Strategies, a contribution to UNISDR 2009 Collaborative Publication entitled MANAGING DROUGHT RISK.

Peter van Oevelen

Anna Pirani

I am a CLIVAR staff scientist and my responsibilities include support and coordinating the CLIVAR modeling groups (WGCM, WGSIP, and WGOMD) as well as the CLIVAR-PAGES intersection panel, and the CCl/CLIVAR/JCOMM ETCCDI. I also support the WCRP cross cutting activities on Climate Extremes, Decadal Predictability and Seasonal Prediction. See here for a brief profile.

Xavier Rodo
Catalan Institute for Climate Sciences (IC3), Spain

Mathieu Rouault
University of Cape Town, South Africa

I am a researcher at the Oceanography Dept at University of Cape Town, South Africa where I have worked since 1992.  Due to the strong association between ocean and climate or weather here,  I have studied many aspects of the water cycle and also the impact of climate variability on water resources, vegetation and marine ecosystem.

More info on me here and current project at: here (web site is often down due to winter black out). Please visit our new web site here.

Sonia Seneviratne
Swiss Federal Institute for Technology Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland

I am working at ETH Zurich and interested in land-climate interactions, with a focus on the role of soil moisture for the climate system. Our research group is conducting several studies on drought modeling in both present and future climate conditions, drought-climate interactions (e.g. impact of soil moisture deficits for heat waves), observations and modelling of soil moisture, and soil moisture-climate interactions in general. You can find more information on our research on the following web page: In addition, I am coordinating lead author of chapter 3 of the new IPCC SREX report (focusing on extreme events and disasters:, and impacts of climate change for drought occurrence will be an important part of our chapter.

Siegfried Shubert
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA

Soroosh Sorooshian
University of California, USA

Ron Stewart
University of Manitoba, Canada

Jozef Syktus
Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence, Office of Climate Change, Australia

I work at the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, Australia. I am climate modeller working on application of global and regional climate models to research the paleoclimates and climate change and variability. In particular our group at QCCCE is contributing climate change simulations using CSIRO Mk3.6 model to the CMIP5 effort and doing dynamical downscaling of climate change projections. My particular interest in relation to WCRP Drought Interest Group is projection of climate extremes, including drought, attribution of climate change with focus on attribution of extremes, impact of land cover and land use and dust on hydrological cycle, drought and extremes, impact of reforestation on extremes under global warming, role of low frequency variability on the non-ENSO droughts in Australia, dynamical understanding of processes causing droughts.

Ricardo Trigo
University of Lisbon, Portugal

I'm the head of the climatology and climate change group at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon.

I've been particularly interested on the links between atmospheric circulation (e.g. NAO, blocking events, cut-off-lows, storm-tracks) and different weather-driven natural hazards over western Mediterranean, particularly; floods, droughts, landslides and heatwaves.

Lately I've been also involved on the development of river flow (statistical) models and drought monitoring using satellite information.

List of publications here.

Robert Vautard
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, IPSL, France

I am working at Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL/LSCE) near Paris, and have been working in several climate areas related to droughts/heat waves. My main interest is diagnostic and predictability studies of climate variability: weather regimes, recent climate trends, climate extremes such as heat waves in Europe, but also other type extreme seasons (ex fall 2006). I have done also investigation of impacts of heat waves / droughts on air quality (in particular the 2003 extreme). At the institute (IPSL/LSCE) we also have conducted several studies on the impact of heat waves / droughts on regional carbon balance and statistical studies of the evolution of heat waves and droughts in Europe.

Sergio Vicente
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain

I have been working for the past ten years in different drought-related issues: indicators, variability and impacts. I have worked in different regions and spatial scales. recently, we have developed new techniques and datasets for the drought analysis at a global scale. You can find more information at:

Guomin Wang
Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Australia

I have been working on the development of coupled model seasonal prediction systems in the past decade at Australian Bureau of Meteorology. In addition I have conducted fundamental and application research on climate variability. In recent 15 years unprecedented drought conditions have developed over southern parts of the Australia, and there is urgent need to answer whether natural variability or human-induced forcing are the causes of the droughts. I believe the forthcoming DIG activities will enhance and improve our capability towards better monitoring, understanding and predicting droughts.

Eric Wood
Princeton University, USA

Elena Xoplaki
University of Bern, Switzerland and Cyprus Institute, Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC), Crete

I am interested in the Mediterranean climate where drought is more than a seasonal phenomenon. Currently I am working at the Cyprus Institute at the Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, focusing on climate change and climate change impacts in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including user requirements and communication.

Xuebin Zhang
Climate Research Division, Canada

Ma Zhuguo
Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

The ICPO contact for the Drought Interest Group is Jennifer Riley.


GDEWS Questionnaire. Questionnaire to assess the regional needs for a GDEWS (Global Drought Early Warning System). We would invite anyone to participate in the survey - please forward any completed questionnaires to Jennifer Riley.

Report on the WCRP Workshop on Drought Predictability and Prediction in a Changing Climate, 2-4 March 2011, Barcelona, Spain.

WCRP White Paper on ‘Drought Predictability and Prediction in a Changing Climate: Assessing Current Capabilities, User Requirements, and Research Priorities’.

WCRP Drought Interest Group (DIG) Coordinates Drought Research for Better Prediction of Regional Drought. D. Legler and A. Pirani, On behalf of the WCRP Drought Interest Group (DIG). CLIVAR Exchanges, 51, Oct 2009.

Web Resources

A web portal ( has been developed that focuses on the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), a recent tool for the analysis and monitoring of droughts.

The web portal provides information on the SPEI and different software tools to calculate SPEI

In addition, the website includes access to a SPEI database that can be obtained at time scales ranging from 1-48 months. the database has been created from information on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration published by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia ( The information covers the period 1901-2011 at a spatial resolution of 0.5 °. This database can be downloaded in its entirety in netCDF format, or by selecting a specific pixel coordinates.

Finally, a portal has been created that allows the monitoring of real-time drought.  it shows the current drought conditions from SPEI worldwide (as of the most current information available on a global scale). The portal allows visualization mapping of the SPEI values at different time scales (3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 36 and 48 months) and time series of the selected areas (either a specific pixel or frame). This information can also be downloaded in netCDF format (the entire database), the pixel of interest or the means of a user-specified frame