CISA: Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, A NOAA RISA Team

Drought Planning & Preparedness

CISA partners with several organizations in the Carolinas, and across the country, to enhance the region’s capacity to plan for and respond to drought. CISA’s portfolio of drought projects include research to better understand the wide range of drought impacts, engagement with different audiences and decision makers to address drought questions and information needs, and development of innovative tools and resources to assist with drought monitoring and planning. CISA’s drought projects are funded by the NOAA RISA program and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).

RISA logo & NIDIS logo

Assessment of Coastal Zone Fire Risk Indicators for Monitoring and Management Decisions

Beginning in 2017, CISA is providing support to the State Climate Office of North Carolina to expand the Coastal Carolinas DEWS Coastal Zone Fire Risk Assessment project conducted in 2014-2015. Project goals are to: improve the monitoring of soil moisture in coastal areas; enhance the Fire Weather Intelligence Portal to better address coastal fire conditions and risks; assess coastal zone fire risk indicators; and help resource managers use new coastal zone monitoring data and information for drought management and planning decisions.

CISA Collaborator

Kirsten Lackstrom

Project Partner
  • State Climate Office of North Carolina
Focus Area

Coastal Climate; Water Resources

The Carolinas Precipitation Patterns & Probabilities Atlas

The Carolinas Precipitation Patterns & Probabilities Atlas (Atlas) provides Carolinas-focused information about extremes (drought, heavy rainfall) and normal precipitation patterns. The Atlas includes over 1,000 downloadable maps and figures characterizing various measures of precipitation and drought. It offers information not readily available from other sources, such as frequency and duration of both dry and wet events, and photographs, videos, graphics, and narratives of the impacts of notable drought and heavy precipitation events in the Carolinas.

Access the Atlas

CISA Collaborators

Greg Carbone
Karen Beidel
Junyu Lu
Chip Konrad

Project Partner
  • Southeast Regional Climate Center
Focus Area

Water Resources

Citizen Science-Condition Monitoring Project

This project engages with citizen scientists and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) Network to promote drought impacts reporting. Observers provide weekly “condition monitoring” reports to document effects of weather and climate on their communities. This project addresses a need identified by stakeholders for improved understanding of drought impacts and for tools to facilitate the use of impacts information into decision making.

Read more about the Condition Monitoring project.
Access the Condition Monitoring Web Map.

CISA Collaborators

Ellie Davis
Amanda Farris
Kerry Guiseppe
Kirsten Lackstrom

Project Partners
  • CoCoRaHS
  • National Drought Mitigation Center
  • State Climate Office of North Carolina
Focus Area

Water Resources

The Coastal Carolinas Drought Early Warning System (DEWS)

As part of the Coastal Carolinas DEWS, CISA collaborates with NIDIS to:

  • build understanding of the unique vulnerabilities and impacts of drought in coastal areas;
  • develop tools, information, and other resources to help managers and decision makers integrate drought into existing coastal resource management activities;
  • enhance interactions across research and decision making communities on drought topics.

Access the NIDIS Coastal Carolinas DEWS page
Read more about CISA’s role in the Coastal Carolinas DEWS

CISA Collaborators

Kirstin Dow
Amanda Farris
Kerry Guiseppe
Kirsten Lackstrom
Lauren Rouen

Project Partners
  • State Climate Office of North Carolina
Focus Area

Coastal Climate; Water Resources

Coastal Salinity Index and Ecological Indicators of Coastal Drought

The Coastal Salinity Index (CSI) was developed as a way to characterize coastal drought by monitoring the freshwater-saltwater interface. The tool is intended to improve understanding of the effects of changing salinities on fresh and saltwater ecosystems, fish habitat, and freshwater availability for municipal and industrial use. In close collaboration with DEWS partner Paul Conrads (USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center), CISA is comparing the CSI with environmental response variables and engaging with decision makers to pilot the CSI’s use and applications.

Read more about the Coastal Salinity Index and related research

CISA Collaborators

Kirsten Lackstrom
Lauren Rouen
Dan Tufford

Project Partners
  • East Carolina University
  • USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center
Focus Area

Coastal Climate; Water Resources

Historic Drought Impacts to Agriculture

This research project shows connections between growing season droughts and reductions in crop yields. The research aims to “detrend” the time series to account for technological changes that have improved crop yields through time. Maps displaying NC and SC county-level yield anomalies for corn (1925-2016), soybean (1972-2016), and hay (1950-2008) are available in the Carolinas Precipitation Patterns & Probabilities Atlas.

CISA Collaborators

Greg Carbone
Junyu Lu

Focus Area

Water Resources

Support for South Carolina’s Drought Response Program

CISA and the South Carolina State Climatology Office (SC SCO) initiated this project in 2017 with the overarching goal of enhancing the State’s Drought Response Program and improving drought preparedness and response. Major components of this project include collecting and analyzing drought impacts on South Carolina; assessing approaches to drought response in the Southeast to learn about neighboring states’ drought management strategies and tools; and developing informational resources that can be used to support South Carolina’s drought planning and communications processes.

Read more about the CISA and SC SCO drought response project

CISA Collaborators

Ekaterina Altman
Amanda Farris
Kirsten Lackstrom

Project Partners
  • South Carolina State Climatology Office
Focus Area

Water Resources