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2012 U.S. Drought: Impacts & Historical Context

Crane-Station wrote up a very good post on this topic yesterday here at FDL. I didn’t want to step on their toes, so waited to post mine until today. Hopefully this adds to the discussion and doesn’t duplicate too much.

The National Climate Data Center, in its summary of drought conditions as of the end of June 2012, reported that 55% of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to extreme drought, as the graphic below shows. This is the largest percentage since December 1956 when 58% of the U.S. experienced similar conditions. The Palmer Drought Index, whose data base goes back 112 years, is relied upon for drought comparisons before 2000.

Photobucket

Figure 1. Drought conditions across the United States as of early July 2012 from the Drought Monitor.

In my last post on drought, I stated, “There’s no widespread crisis to speak of yet, but inhabitants as well as policymakers should monitor conditions as the year progresses.” Well, the NCDC established the case for a widespread crisis with their latest summary, which was not issued until after my post. Crops and livestock are now being negatively affected. The following two charts show corn and soybean prices. The recent peaks are due to worsening conditions across the breadbasket and the USDA’s recent crop downgrade. [cont’d.]

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2012 U.S. Drought: Impacts & Historical Context

Crane-Station wrote up a very good post on this topic yesterday here at FDL.  I didn’t want to step on their toes, so waited to post mine until today.  Hopefully this adds to the discussion and doesn’t duplicate too much.

The National Climate Data Center, in its summary of drought conditions as of the end of June 2012, reported that 55% of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to extreme drought, as the graphic below shows.  This is the largest percentage since December 1956 when 58% of the U.S. experienced similar conditions.  The Palmer Drought Index, whose data base goes back 112 years, is relied upon for drought comparisons before 2000.

Photobucket

Figure 1. Drought conditions across the United States as of early July 2012 from the Drought Monitor.

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