Don Wilhite

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
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Title Climatologist
Address 811 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
68583-0968
Phone 402-472-4270
FAX 402-472-2946
E-mail dwilhite2@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hi, I'm Don Wilhite, professor of Applied Climate Science in the School of Natural Resources. I am the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center. I served as director of the NDMC from 1995 until 2007, when I was appointed director of the School of Natural Resources. On August 1, 2012, I stepped down from the SNR's director's role to rejoin the faculty. I have been a faculty member at UNL since 1977. My principal areas of interest include drought preparedness, mitigation and policy, climate and drought monitoring, climate impact assessment, and the development of climate-based decision support tools.

Throughout my career, I have worked with many federal and state agencies on climate and drought-related issues. I have also worked in many foreign countries and with numerous international organizations, including several agencies of the United Nations. Most of this work has been associated with the development and implementation of integrated drought monitoring programs and risk-based drought preparedness strategies and policies.

I recently served as chair of the International Organizing Committee for the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy. This meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland, in March 2013. This international conference was organized by the World Meteorological Organization, the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Several follow-on activities related to this meeting are now being organized, including four regional workshops on drought preparedness and policy. The first of these workshops is scheduled for July 2013 in Bucharest, Romania, for Eastern European countries. I will be giving the keynote presentation and facilitating discussion at that workshop. I am also serving on the External Advisory Committee for a new Integrated Drought Management Program recently launched by the World Meteorological Organization and the Global Water Partnership. I am also engaged in international projects on drought mitigation and planning that are being sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.N. Development Program, and I am a member of the steering committee for several European drought-related projects.

On-campus activities include providing leadership for a new University of Nebraska system-wide initiative to create a center of excellence in geospatial technologies. I am also facilitating a new project to develop an "Atlas of Nebraska" that will bring together much of the physical, social, economic, and biological data that is available in SNR, at UNL, and from several state agencies. The atlas will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2014. I am also co-chairing the planning committee for the 2014 annual symposium of the Center for Great Plains Studies, Drought in the Life, Cultures and Landscapes of the Great Plains, an exciting opportunity to examine how droughts (past, present and future) have and will continue to shape our region. Sponsors for this symposium include the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Robert B. Daughterty Water for Food Institute.

In 2005, I edited Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology and Management Issues, published by CRC Press. I am now editing a book series by the same name that focuses on the complex interrelationships between drought, climate change, and water management. Two books have been published as part of this series and several other books are in the development stage.

Please continue to examine the SNR website and the programs of the faculty in the Applied Climate Science faculty area. The field of applied climate science offers many opportunities for prospective undergraduate and graduate students. A proposal for a new undergraduate major in Applied Climate Science was recently approved and will be available to students in the fall of 2013. Issues related to drought and other extreme climatic events, climate variability and change are important issues today and will continue to be well into the future. They provide many challenges for the science and policy communities and employment opportunities for students in applied climate science.

Selected Publications

Hayes, M., D. Wilhite, M. Svoboda, and M. Trnka. 2011. Investigating the Connections between Climate Change, Drought, and Agricultural Production. In: R. Mendelsohn and A. Dinar (eds.), Handbook on climate Change and Agriculture. Edward Eigar Publishing Ltd.
Wilhite, D.A. 2012. Breaking the Hydro-Illogical Cycle: Changing the Paradigm for Drought Management (Comment), EARTH Magazine, July (pp. 71-72) (www.earthmagazine.org).   On-Line
Wilhite, D.A., M.J. Hayes, and M. Svoboda. 2012. Drought. Encyclopedia on Environmetrics. Abdel H. El-Shaarawi and Walter P. Piegorsch, editors. John Wiley and Sons (in press).
Sivakumar, M.K.V., D. Wilhite, and J. Qu. 2011. Proceedings of an Expert Meeting on a Compendium for National Drought Policy (George Mason University, July 2011). World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Sivakumar, M.K.V., R. Motha, D. Wilhite, and D. Wood. 2011. Proceedings of an Expert Meeting on Agricultural Drought Indices (Murcia, Spain, June, 2010), World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Sivakumar, M.K.V., R. Pulwarty, D. Wilhite, and J. Ginnetti. Proposed Elements in a Compendium on National Drought Policy. Proceedings of an Expert Meeting on National Drought Policy. World Meteorological Organization.
Wilhite, D.A. 2011. Breaking the Hydro-Illogical Cycle: Progress or Status Quo for Drought Management in the United States. European Water 34:3-16.
Wilhite, D.A. 2011. Essential Elements of National Drought Policy: Moving Towards Creating National Drought Policy Guidelines. In: Sivakumar, M.K.V., D. Wilhite, and J. Qu. 2011. Proceeding of an Expert Meeting on a Compendium on National Drought Policy (George Mason University, July 2011). World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Wilhite, D.A. 2011. National Drought Policies: Addresses Impacts and Societal Vulnerability. In: Sivakumar, M.K.V., D. Wilhite, and J. Qu. 2011. Proceeding of an Expert Meeting on a Compendium on National Drought Policy (George Mason University, July 2011). World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Wilhite, D.A. 2011. Quantification of Agricultural Drought for Effective Drought Mitigation and Preparedness: Key Issues and Challenges. In: Sivakumar, M.K.V., R. Motha, D. Wilhite, and D. Wood. 2011. Proceedings of an Expert Meeting on Agricultural Drought Indices (Murcia, Spain, June, 2010). World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
C.L. Knutson and D.A. Wilhite. 2009. New Developments and Opportunities for Drought Risk Reduction in Asia. In: P.K. Low (ed.), Global Change and Sustainable Development: Asia-Pacific Perspectives. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England.
Iglesias, A., A. Cancelliere, F. Cubillo, L. Garrote, and D. Wilhite, eds. Coping with Drought Risk in Agriculture and Water Supply Systems: Drought Management and Policy Development in the Mediterranean. Springer Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. (in press)
Wilhite, D.A. 2009. The Role of Monitoring as a Component of Preparedness Planning: Delivery of Information and Decision Support Tools. In: Iglesias, A., A. Cancelliere, F. Cubillo, L. Garrote, and D. Wilhite, eds. Coping with Drought Risk in Agriculture and Water Supply Systems: Drought Management and Policy Development in the Mediterranean. Springer Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
C.L. Knutson and D.A. Wilhite. 2008. New Developments and Opportunities for Drought Risk Reduction in Asia. In: P.K. Low (ed.), Global Change and Sustainable Development: Asia-Pacific Perspectives. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England. (in press)
Trnka, M., M. Dubrovsky, M. Svoboda, D. Semeradova, M. Hayes, Z. Zalud, and D. Wilhite, 2008. Developing a Regional Drought Climatology for the Czech Republic. International Journal of Climatology. [On-line] DOI: 10.1002/joc.1745
Wilhite, D.A. 2008. The Role of Monitoring as a Component of Preparedness Planning: Delivery of Information and Decision Support Tools. In: Iglesias, A., A. Cancelliere, F. Cubillo, L. Garrote, and D. Wilhite, eds. Coping with Drought Risk in Agriculture and Water Supply Systems: Drought Management and Policy Development in the Mediterranean. Springer Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. (in press)
Wu, H., M.D. Svoboda, M.J. Hayes, D.A. Wilhite, and Wen, F., 2007. Appropriate Application of the Standardized Precipitation Index in Arid Locations and Dry Seasons. International Journal of Climatology, 27: 65-79.
Hu, Q., L.M. PytlikZillig, G.D. Lynne, K.G. Hubbard, W.J. Waltman, M.J. Hayes, A.J. Tomkins, and D.A. Wilhite. 2006. Improving farmers' forecast use from understanding their beliefs, social norms, and perceived obstacles. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol.
M. Dubrovsky, M.D. Svoboda, M. Trnka, M.J. Hayes, D.A. Wilhite, Z. Zalud, P. Hlavinka. 2006. Application of Relative Drought Indices in Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Drought Conditions in Czechia. Theoretical and Applied Climatology[On-line] DOI: 10.1007/s00704-008-0020-x.
Botterill, L. C. and D.A. Wilhite (eds). 2005. From Disaster Response to Risk Management: Australia's National Drought Policy. Springer. Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
Cooter, E., B. Eder, C. Rosenzweig, B. Lynn, R. Goldberg, C. Knutson, M. Hayes, D. Wilhite, J. DeCarolis, and T. Barnett. 2005. Effects of climate change on weather and water. Environmental Management. Special issue on Climate Change and Air Quality. October. pp. 32-35.
Tadesse, T., D.A. Wilhite, M.J. Hayes, S.K. Harms, and S. Goddard. 2005. Discovering Associations Between Climatic and Oceanic Parameters to Monitor Drought in Nebraska Using Data-Mining Techniques. Journal of Climate, 18(10):1541-1550.
Tadesse, T., D.A. Wilhite, S.K. Harms, M.J. Hayes, and S. Goddard. 2004. Drought Monitoring Using Data Mining Techniques: A Case Study for Nebraska, U.S.A. Natural Hazards 33(1):137-159.
Wilhite, D.A. 2005 Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology and Management Issues. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
Wu, H., M.J. Hayes, D.A. Wilhite, and M.D. Svoboda. 2005. The Effect of the Length of Record on the Standardized Precipitation Index Calculation. International Journal of Climatology, 25:505-520.
Wu, H. and D.A. Wilhite. 2004. An Operational Agricultural Drought Risk Assessment Model for Nebraska, USA. Natural Hazards 33(1):1-21.
Wu, H., K.G. Hubbard, and D.A. Wilhite. 2004. An Agricultural Drought Risk Assessment Model for Corn and Soybeans. International Journal of Climatology 24:723-741.
Wilhite, D.A., 2003. Drought Policy and Preparedness: International Experiences and Future Directions, in Drought: People, Policy, and Place (L. Botterill and M. Fisher, eds.), Melbourne, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
Wilhelmi, O. and D.A. Wilhite. 2002. Assessing Vulnerability to Agricultural Drought: A Nebraska Case Study. Natural Hazards 25: 37-58.
Wilhelmi, O., K. Hubbard, and D.A. Wilhite. 2002. Spatial Representation of Agroclimatology in a Study of Agricultural Drought. International Journal of Climatology 22: 1399-1414.
Wilhite, D.A., 2002. Combating Drought through Preparedness. Natural Resources Forum 26: 275-285.
Wilhite, D.A. and D.A. Wood. 2001. Revisiting Drought Relief and Management Efforts in the West: Have We Learned from the Past? Journal of the West 40(3):18-25
Wilhite, D.A., 2001. Moving beyond Crisis Management, Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy 16(1):20-28. Special issue (invited).
Wilhite, D.A. 2000. Drought Response and Preparedness in the Context of Sub-Saharan Africa (invited). J. of Contingency Planning and Crisis Management 8(2):81-92. Special issue, H. Bruins (ed.).
Wilhite, D.A. (ed.). 2000. Drought: A Global Assessment (2 volumes, 51 chapters, 700 pages). Hazards and Disasters: A Series of Definitive Major Works (7 volume series), edited by A.Z. Keller. Routledge Publishers.
Wilhite, D.A., M.J. Hayes, C. Knutson, and K.H. Smith. 2000. Planning for Drought: Moving from Crisis to Risk Management. J. of Amer. Water Res. Assoc. 36:697-710.

Educational Background

  • BS - Central Missouri State University, Geography (1967)
  • MS - Arizonia State University, Geography (1969)
  • PhD - University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Geography, Climate and Water Resources (1975)

Awards

  • 1/26/14 – Award of Merit awarded by Nebraska Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta 

SNR Faculty Area(s)

Affiliations (index)

Notable Websites

Expertise

  • Climate - Drought
  • Climate - Human Dimensions
  • Drought - AAGeneral
  • Drought - Climate
  • Drought - Planning
  • Drought - Policy
  • Humans and the Environment - Climate
  • Planning - Drought

Areas of Interest (Keyword)

  • Climate - Change
  • Climate - Drought
  • Climate - Impacts
  • Climate - Mitigation/Adaptation
  • Climate - Policy
  • Climate - Variability
  • Drought - Assessment
  • Drought - Climate
  • Drought - Decision-Making
  • Drought - Impacts
  • Drought - Mitigation
  • Drought - Monitoring
  • Weather - Climate Change

Other Areas of Interest

Drought, Mitigation, Planning, and Policy, Climate Assessment and Impacts, Climatology, Human dimensions of natural resources

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title University of Nebraska-Lincoln/Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Liaison for Coordination of Water Quality Education Programming in Nebraska
Starting Date 4/1/2012
Principal Investigators
Dickey, Elbert
Co-PIs
Don Wilhite
Ending Date 9/30/2012
Funding Level $27,750.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

 

Graduate Program(s) Master of Science with a Specialization in
  • Agricultural Meteorology
  • Climate Assessment & Impacts
Doctor of Philosophy with a Specialization in
  • Agricultural Meteorology
  • Climate Assessment & Impacts