US Drought Monitor Service

The U.S. Drought Monitor is unique, blending numeric measures of drought and experts’ best judgment into a single map every week.

It started in 1999 as a federal, state, and academic partnership, growing out of a Western Governors’ Association initiative to provide timely and understandable scientific information on water supply and drought for policymakers.

The Monitor is produced by a rotating group of authors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Drought Mitigation Center. It incorporates review from a group of 250 climatologists, extension agents, and others across the nation. Each week the author revises the previous map based on rain, snow and other events, observers’ reports of how drought is affecting crops, wildlife and other indicators. Authors balance conflicting data and reports to come up with a new map every Wednesday afternoon. It is released the following Thursday morning.

Note especially that the report makes distinction between short term effects (labelled “S” of the map) such as agricultural and grassland yields, crop health and so on, and long term (labelled “L” on the map) effect such as depletion of hydrology, damage to ecology etc.

Here is this week’s result:

Visit the US Drought Monitor for the current drought conditions…