Drought is focus of Wilhite’s Oct. 25 Nebraska Lecture

jbrehm2, October 11, 2011 | View original publication

Drought is focus of Wilhite’s Oct. 25 Nebraska Lecture

This summer's exceptional drought in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas is a startling reminder of the serious economic, environmental and social impacts of this natural disaster. As droughts become more frequent and intense in the face of climate change, strategies to mitigate their impact will be increasingly important.

During the fall Nebraska Lecture on Oct. 25, University of Nebraska-Lincoln climatologist Donald A. Wilhite will share how the university is addressing drought-related challenges throughout the world. The free public lecture, "Managing Drought in a Changing Climate," will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Nebraska Union auditorium, 14th and R streets, with a reception following. The presentation is part of the Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture Series.

"Historically, governments have typically responded to drought in a reactive, crisis management mode. This approach is often ineffective and leads to greater societal vulnerability during the next drought event," said Wilhite, director of UNL's School of Natural Resources and founder of the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Population growth, urbanization and environmental degradation have strained the world's limited freshwater resources. As the competition for water grows, droughts are leading to serious water management challenges and conflicts in both developed and developing nations. Wilhite's lecture will discuss proactive, risk-based approaches, such as early warning systems, that could help countries better handle droughts. UNL partners with the World Meteorological Organization, United Nations agencies and the Global Water Partnership to address these challenges.

The Nebraska Lectures, which feature distinguished UNL faculty, are designed for general audiences and provide insights about some of the university's leading research, scholarly and creative activity. Wilhite's lecture is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, UNL Research Council and the Office of Research and Economic Development.