Spring Seminar Series covers human dimensions of drought

Join us on March 22, 3:30-4:30 p.m. for the fourth installment in the Nebraska Water Center’s Spring Seminar Series. We’ll learn about the Human Dimensions of Drought from a panel of experts from the National Drought Mitigation Center. The panel will go beyond traditional social science and into how we can use public participation, planning, and big data to address drought and its impact on people and communities now and in the future. The series is free and open to the public and takes place in person at Hardin Hall on UNL's East Campus and is livestreamed via Zoom. Register at the link below.

As the late western regional climatologist Kelly Redmond wrote, “In essence, as with rainbows, each person experiences their own drought” – recognizing that drought is always relative to an expectation, which can differ from person to person and from place to place. It’s not enough to measure how much rain, snow or soil moisture is missing. We also have to know how much we were expecting, and what we were planning to do with it. “Anthropogenic drought,” a newer concept, explicitly acknowledges that human decision-making affects whether or not we have enough water. The National Drought Mitigation Center, based in UNL’s School of Natural Resources, is best known for the U.S. Drought Monitor, but working with the physical data only one aspect of drought planning. The drought center includes social scientists, planners, public participation experts, historians and more, who all contribute to the center’s mission of helping decision-makers at all scales reduce vulnerability to drought. 

Dr. Tonya Haigh, NDMC’s Social Science Coordinator, is a rural sociologist who researches producers’ decision making. Dr. Deborah Bathke, NDMC’s Education Coordinator, is a climatologist and U.S. Drought Monitor author who leads scenario exercises for drought planning. Dr. Cody Knutson, NDMC’s Planning Coordinator, works with states, tribes and countries around the world to develop drought plans. Dr. Kelly Helm Smith, NDMC Assistant Director and Communications Coordinator, borrows methods from big data and digital humanities to see what people are saying about drought.

Learn more about the Spring Seminar Series