It is one thing to find some sense and order to the chaotic processes that dominate long term environmental catastrophes; it is another thing entirely to take these observations and throw them together into a model that can be used to better represent hazards at hand. While this monumental task takes teams of scientists working together, the presenter for this past week’s Van Tuyl lecture series, Dr. Christa Peters-Lidard of NASA Goddard, was at her best presenting on how everyone, herself included, helped to build models that will revolutionize drought modeling. Peters-Lidard, who got her Ph.D. at Princeton, acts as the chief physical scientist at NASA Goddard in the hydrological sciences laboratory. Recently the lab has been working to pull from the somewhat abbreviated physical data on droughts to build reliable models. Beyond simple drought modeling, her team has done their best to add in other variables, such as soil moisture, stream flow, and snow pack, to the mix. There were no punches held as Peters-Lidard announced that “drought is a high-impact hydrological event.” Within the past decade many areas of the United States have been affected by varying levels of drought, most notably the entire state of Texas and most of Southwestern United States.