Checklist for Indicators and Triggers in a Drought Plan

In addition to the above criteria and considerations, we provide a checklist below. Note that these pertain only to the indicators and triggers portion of a drought plan. Many other drought plan components are important, such as communication and coordination among agencies responsible for monitoring the indicators and implementing the responses if they are triggered (see Chapter 5). Nonetheless, this list offers a straightforward set of metrics to check:

1. Indicator specification and consistency a. Indicator definitions: Is each indicator defined and specified?

b. Indicator calculation method: Is a calculation method provided for each indicator?

c. Spatial scale definition: Is the spatial scale for monitoring and analyzing the indicator defined (such as a particular climate division for the SPI-6)?

d. Spatial sensitivity: Is the indicator sensitive to spatial variability, such as wetter regions in the mountains and drier regions in the desert?

e. Temporal scale definition: Is the temporal scale for monitoring and analyzing the indicator defined (such as a prior 6-month period for the SPI-6)?

f. Temporal sensitivity: Is the indicator sensitive to temporal variability, such as wetter months in the early spring and drier months in the late summer?

2. Trigger and drought level specification and consistency a. Definition of drought levels: Are explicit drought levels defined, such as "level/stage/phase 0, 1, 2, and 3" or "normal, moderate, severe, extreme"?

b. Definition of triggering thresholds for each indicator: Are quantitative indicator thresholds (i.e., triggers) defined for each drought level?

c. Spatial scale of triggers: Do triggers specify the spatial scale for implementation? Consider the trigger, "SPI-6 less than -1.5 for two consecutive months within Climate Division 1 will invoke Level 2 drought responses for counties X and Y." Here, the spatial scale for the trigger would be Counties X and Y, even though the spatial scale for the indicator is Climate Division 1.

d. Temporal scale of triggers: Do triggers specify the temporal scale for implementation? Consider the trigger, "SPI-6 less than -1.5 for two consecutive months within Climate Division 1 will invoke Level 2 drought responses for Counties X and Y."

Here, the temporal scale for the trigger would be two consecutive months, even though the temporal scale for the indicator is the prior 6 months.

e. Statistical consistency among indicators, triggers thresholds, and drought levels: Are the triggers (one or more) statistically consistent with each other and with drought levels?

f. Explicit triggers for "drought progressing": Are indicators and triggers defined for moving from a less severe drought level to a more severe drought level?

g. Explicit triggers for "drought receding": Are indicators and triggers defined for moving from a more severe drought level to a less severe drought level?

h. Explicit method to combine indicators: Are objective or subjective methods for using and combining multiple indicators and triggers specified?

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