Multi-year hydroclimatic droughts and pluvials across the conterminous United States
Time series of water‐year runoff for 2,109 hydrologic units (HUs) across the conterminous United States (CONUS) for the 1900 through 2014 period were used to identify drought and pluvial (i.e., wet) periods. Characteristics of the drought and pluvial events including frequency, duration, and severity were examined and compared. Additionally, a similar analysis was performed using gridded tree‐ring reconstructions of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) for the period 1475 through 2005 to place the drought and pluvial characteristics determined using water‐year runoff for 1900 through 2014 in the context of multi‐century climate variability. The temporal and spatial variability of droughts and pluvials determined using runoff for the 1900 through 2014 period indicated that most drought events in the CONUS occurred before about 1970, whereas most pluvial periods occurred after about 1970. This change in the frequencies of drought and pluvial events around 1970 was largely related to an increase in fall (October through December) precipitation across much of the central United States. Also, the duration and severity of droughts and pluvials identified using runoff for the 1900 through 2014 period generally were not significantly different from the drought and pluvial characteristics identified using the PDSI for the 1475 through 2005 period.
|Multi-year hydroclimatic droughts and pluvials across the conterminous United States
|Gregory J. McCabe, David M. Wolock
|International Journal of Climatology
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|WMA - Integrated Modeling and Prediction Division