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Published January 24, 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor(data through 1/17/12)
Data Source(s): U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Drought Mitigation Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
In the West, drought substantially expanded in the last month as dry conditions moved in across most of the region, according to the January 17 U.S Drought Monitor (Figure 3). Drought still remains most severe in Arizona and New Mexico, but a large swath of moderate drought has emerged in northern California, western Nevada, and southern Oregon. In these regions, precipitation has been less than 50 percent of average in the last 60 days, and negative impacts associated with the dry weather are mostly seen in agriculture, ranching, and other sectors influenced by shorter-term fluctuations in the weather. Impacts to water supply, on the other hand, respond to climate changes on timescales typically longer than six months because reservoirs buffer acute dry periods. In the Upper Colorado River Basin, snow has been scant for parts of Colorado, southern Wyoming, and Utah. Abnormally dry conditions now characterize these regions.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is released weekly (every Thursday) and represents data collected through the previous Tuesday. The inset (lower left) shows the western United States from the previous month’s map. The U.S. Drought Monitor maps are based on expert assessment of variables including (but not limited to) the Palmer Drought Severity Index, soil moisture, streamflow, precipitation, and measures of vegetation stress, as well as reports of drought impacts. It is a joint effort of several agencies.
The best way to monitor drought trends is to pay a weekly visit to the U.S. Drought Monitor website :
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer