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Experts Agree on Drought Index in Response to Climate Change

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Experts had agreed on a universal drought index to monitor drought and effectively manage climate risks, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced on Tuesday.

Last week, during a workshop in Lincoln, capital of the US state of Nebraska, 54 experts approved the "Lincoln Declaration on Drought Indices".

The index recognized use of the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) to characterize meteorological droughts, which begin when the SPI is continuously negative and end once the SPI becomes positive.

The WMO hopes the declaration will aid early detection of drought's onset and intensity, which could help improve crop insurance schemes for farmers.

Increased frequency and magnitude of droughts is one likely consequence of climate change.

The WMO was established in 1950. It has 189 member states and territories and is headquartered in Geneva.

(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2009)

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