The UK Drought Portal is a tool to help visualise the current meteorological conditions across the UK, and understand the severity and magnitude of drought at different spatial scales across the UK over the past half century.
Click here to access the Drought Portal.
The Drought Portal was first launched in July 2015 as a historical data viewer, providing data up to 2012. The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) are now re-launching the Drought Portal as a near-real-time monitoring tool. The Portal will be updated at the start of each month to include data for the previous month. The Portal currently features data up to the end of April 2017, with the next update of May 2017 data scheduled for the first week in June.
CEH have developed the Portal as a near-real-time tool to aid the monitoring and early warning of drought and as a way of allowing users to explore past drought characteristics in an area or location of interest. The Portal allows users to explore data interactively, using mapping and time series plotting tools to view locations and timescales of interest. In addition to viewing the current month on the Portal, users can plot historic time series and maps back to 1961. Although it is aimed primarily at drought monitoring at present, it can also be used to assess water status more generally – in particular, it can also show when conditions are very wet and there is a heightened vulnerability to flooding.
The Drought Portal displays the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), an indicator of drought that is widely used internationally for drought monitoring. This normalises the rainfall deficit over a range of timescales (the last month, three months, six months, the last year, and so on) based on the historic record, meaning the current situation is expressed relative to the past range of variability for the place in question. The same types of standardised indicators can be derived for other variables including river flows and groundwater. Over the next year CEH plan to add indicators derived from streamflow and groundwater level data to the portal allowing the hydrological situation to be monitored more comprehensively in a standardised, comparable way.
Background information can be found here.