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Multivariate thematic map visualization of the Oregon 2001 drought Public Deposited

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  • The visualization of climate patterns is a major theme in cartography. Short-term dramatic weather events such as hurricanes and tornado outbreaks are mapped and displayed immediately in order to capitalize on the sensational nature of the events, and to quickly and accurately convey the information to emergency workers and the general public. Sustained weather events such as drought fail to capture widespread public interest, even though the economic and social repercussions of a drought may rival or exceed that of severe flooding or wind storms. Drought occurs in almost all climate zones. It is considered a normal feature of a region's climate and is not a rare or random event. Given the diversity of Oregon's topography and weather patterns, the specific characteristics of drought vary from one part of the state to the next. Despite this variability, the full impact of drought is largely determined by political and economic factors as well as hydrologic and topographic regimes of the region. The water availability in Oregon is essentially fully appropriated, and its use heavily governed. Therefore, anthropogenic factors are as important as natural factors when visualizing drought. This research paper will introduce new tools and methods for visualizing long-term weather events such as drought. Many variables must be included in order to characterize an event as nebulous as drought. This research paper will show that by utilizing advanced computer graphics software, many of these variables can be succinctly and clearly displayed on a single map. This thematic map visualization research will hopefully serve as a communication tool that may draw more attention to less spectacular weather events such as drought, and in turn elicit adequate public response.
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