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ESRI Drought Tracker

ESRI, National Drought Mitigation Center

Using US Drought Monitor data and its classification system, this interactive tool tracks drought in the continental US by county, from 2000 to the present.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Cross Cutting Concept, 1 Science and Engineering Practice
High School: 1 Science and Engineering Practice

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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Other materials addressing 5b
Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
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Other materials addressing 7c

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educator might want to walk students through an example location and look at the graphs, their axes, and what the trend lines indicate.
  • Students can compare and contrast regions in the US for drought events over time. Data is updated every week, which allows students to make predictions using current weather conditions.

About the Science

  • A series of maps and graphs that illustrate drought conditions in the US (by county) between 2000 and the present month. Updated weekly. A timescale below each image shows significant drought events clearly, over the given time interval.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - High resolution map with time series (2000-2018) and different levels of drought severity
    - The Drought Classification is very helpful in understanding the map key and data sources

About the Pedagogy

  • Data is displayed in color-coded (by drought intensity) line graphs showing yearly trends as well as the most current 8-week period. Additionally, a slider allows user to zero in on specific dates between 2000 and present.
  • "Learn More" button takes user to the US Drought Monitor website for information about drought monitor classification scheme and the data behind the tracker.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Graphics are good and tracker is self-explanatory.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1


MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

High School

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

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