Today's site of the day is a bit out of the norm, but I thought that it was appropriate given the dreary weather outside this week and what we're going to face this weekend here in New England. The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Upon first inspection, the site looks fairly basic. However, there is a wealth of data, science and history to explore within it. From animated GIFs of the drought levels going back several years, to the raw data that makes up the maps, the GIS data that you can then import into Google Earth... the list goes on.
So what, right? Well, I love that the raw data is available so that it could be used for statistical assignments. The data could be given the students for them to do the applicable calculations. Or a science class could use the data to study the environment in a specific region and then further research how the wildlife there has changed. Or how about using the GIS data in Google Earth to explore the area that is affected by the drought and look at how the drought level has changed the demographics of the area. There is a wide range of applications that I can see from the site depending on what your subject matter is.