Climate Dashboard

The Drought and Grazing Climate Dashboard highlights several key near-real time climate and drought monitoring products for Arizona. These products including the U.S. Drought Monitor, 12-month Standardized Precipitation Index map, 12-month temperature ranking map, Fire Danger Rating map and 3-month Seasonal Precipitation Outlook were all discussed and chosen at a rancher/land manager workshop as key monitoring tools to support livestock grazing on public lands. These products update automatically either weekly for the U.S. Drought Monitor or monthly for the other maps. 

SPI Explorer Tool

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) is a widely used drought index that has several strengths including the ability to calculate precipitation anomalies at different timescales and the ability to interpret SPI units (standard deviations) in probabilistic terms. This tool allows users to explore SPI values and other historic climate data at specific locations by accessing gridded climate data (PRISM Climate). Data are accessed through the Applied Climate Information Web Service and analyzed and plotted using several R based packages.


myRAINgeLog is an online data management and visualization tool specifically designed for ranchers and land managers who collect and interpret cumulative precipitation observations at remote sites. The account-based tool allows users to collect, manage and analyze multiple gauges and share observations through a public mapping feature. Custom reports can be generated for each gauge with accompanying charts of observations against historical climate conditions and summaries of field notes and photos entered by the user. 

Logbook Generator

The Precipitation Logbook Generator was developed to generate supporting reference climate information to be used with simple accumulation gauges, often deployed in remote locations. These types of gauges are often read infrequently and at irregular intervals making the interpretation of the precipitation observations difficult without support climate context. This tool generates a reference chart and table for a gauge location by leveraging a spatially continuous, gridded, long-term dataset of daily precipitation estimates for all locations in the continental United States. The chart and table indicate ‘normal’ and extreme wet and dry cumulative precipitation amounts for a specified season based on historical estimates for the gauge location. When an observation is made in the field, the entry for that date can be compared to the typical and extreme historical values to provide context and inform a possible management decision


DroughtView is an online tool that provides easy, web-based access to several near-real time and historical remote sensing and climate drought monitoring datasets. The tool can be used to track high-resolution (~250m) changes in remotely sensed ‘greenness’ (Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index) data collected on a bi-weekly basis from the NASA MODIS satellite. This index can be particularly useful for tracking changes in rangeland conditions related to livestock forage production and forest drought stress which can indicate longer-term drought impacts and wildfire risk.

Drought Scenario Planning

Identify the possible “pinch points” in the livestock grazing allotment that will create the greatest challenges during the next drought, and begin developing the solutions that can relieve those “pinch points”
The Drought Scenario Planning Tool supports discussions about preparing for and responding to drought conditions.  The Tool uses the hypothetical Sprinkle Ranch Allotment to represent the kinds of challenges that moderate and intense droughts can create on a typical grazing allotment in Tonto National Forest. In addition to drought impacts to forage production and availability of drinking water for livestock, the Tool can also be used to represent various land use restrictions imposed by the National Forest.
The Tool uses interactive spreadsheets to represent changes in the system when drought conditions are applied and when changes in management are applied as solutions.  The Guide to the Tool includes instructions for using it for the Sprinkle Ranch Allotment, as well as tailoring it for a different setting.
This is not a dynamic planning tool that can be programmed to support real-time decisions about changing animal numbers or rotation of pastures. However, it can be tailored to represent an actual allotment.
The greatest utility of the tool is learning to identify the possible "pinch points" in the allotment that will create the greatest challenges in the next drought. Once identified, ranchers and Forest Service managers can work together to make plans to solve the pinch points before the next drought.  You can think of that solution as increasing the preparation for the next drought.