Challenges, pitfalls, and lessons learned in developing a drought decision-support tool

Greg Carbone, Jinyoung Rhee, Kirstin Dow, Jay Fowler, Gregg Garfin, Holly Hartmann, Ellen Lay, Art Degaetano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Numerous tools exist for monitoring and displaying drought in the United States. Most prominent are those provided by the National Drought Mitigation Center and the U.S. Drought Portal. These national efforts can be supplemented at more local scales with user-inspired tools that highlight conditions more locally and with consideration for particular spatial jurisdictions, time periods, and drought measures. This chapter describes the Dynamic Drought Index Tool (DDIT) that was developed originally in the Carolinas to address such specific needs. It outlines a process for assessing user needs, developing partnerships for construction and revision of tools, issues associated with technology transfer, and challenges associated with each of these processes. Our experience echoes those found in similar examples. The process requires collaborative development with users, a high level of quality assurance and adherence to software development standards, and consideration for long-term and reliable operational hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClimate in Context
Subtitle of host publicationScience and Society Partnering for Adaptation
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118474785
ISBN (Print)9781118474792
StatePublished - Apr 29 2016


  • Climate science translation
  • Drought decision support
  • Technology transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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