Drought

A drought is a period of unusually persistent dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area.

There are actually four different ways that drought can be defined.

  • Meteorological - a measure of departure of precipitation from normal. Due to climatic differences, what might be considered a drought in one location of the country may not be a drought in another location.
  • Agricultural - refers to a situation where the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.
  • Hydrological - occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
  • Socioeconomic - refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortages begin to affect people.

From the National Weather Service (NWS).

What does drought look like in Alaska? In February and March 2021, a webinar series was hosted to review past climate information focusing on unusually dry times, and learn about the US Drought Monitor process and how the weekly maps are made. Then, we heard from…

As California manages a worsening drought, we have complied a number of resources that may be of use for drought monitoring, response, and recovery.  Current Drought Conditions See more on current California drought conditions Drought Monitoring Drought monitoring data and…

There is growing concern that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events are increasing under the changing climate. Scientists continue to study the impacts these extreme weather events can have on natural and managed ecosystems. Progress has been made in…

Changes in the timing and availability of water resources across the Northwest are affecting rangelands. Warming winter temperatures are reducing mountain snowpack and resulting in earlier snowmelt and less available water in the summer months. Reduced water availability,…

Changes in the timing and availability of water resources pose significant challenges to irrigated and dryland agriculture across the Northwest. Warmer winters are shrinking mountain snowpack and melting snow is entering streams and rivers before water is needed for irrigating…

California's forests play a critical role in providing ecosystem services such as fresh air, clean water, timber, and spaces for cultural and recreational opportunities. From the open, grassy hillsides of blue oak woodlands, to the park-like settings of ponderosa forests, to the…

Drought impacts information helps the State of Utah in drought monitoring, planning and response efforts, and U.S. Drought Monitor authors in categorizing drought severity.  However, drought impacts in Utah have historically been under-reported, meaning that important…

The 2020 Jornada Symposium featured short presentations highlighting our climate adaptation efforts.   Climate adaptation in the SouthwestThe USDA Southwest Climate Hub team prepared flash presentations to showcase our climate adaptation projects. The Hub has three…

Case Study Background Siembra Tres Vidas is a farm on the southern side of the central mountains of Puerto Rico in the town of Aibonito where Daniella Rodriguez grows a variety of vegetables and lettuce, edible flowers, and aromátic herbs. The farm is situated at 2000 asl on…