Drought

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Drought poses a serious threat to the resilience of communities and ecosystems in the U.S. USGS has developed a new coordinated and integrated drought science strategy that represents a new path forward towards understanding the complexity of drought issues, their impact on human and natural systems, and the opportunities to inform policy and decision-making for adaptation and mitigation.

Integrated Drought Science

Integrated Drought Science

Our drought science plan focuses on data collection and integration, understanding drought processes and impacts, and drought planning and decision support.

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What is Drought?

What is Drought?

Drought is a prolonged and widespread deficit in naturally available water supplies that creates multiple stressors across ecosystems and communities.

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Looking for data?

Drought-related data catalogs and portals are listed below. If applicable, the links will pre-populate a search for drought on each site.

ScienceBase

Science Data Catalog

National Water Information System

Geo Data Portal

CMGDS: Coastal and Marine Geoscience Data System

National Climate Change Viewer

News

Date published: September 7, 2021

A Whole New (Fiery) World

As a wildfire approached Tonto National Monument in Arizona, archaeologists and firefighters rushed to cover the park’s 700-year-old cliff dwellings with fire resistant aluminum wrapping.  

Date published: September 3, 2021

Media Alert: New Flood Warning Gage in Pack Creek near Moab Utah

A new rapid deployment U.S. Geological Survey flood warning gage has been installed in Pack Creek, 9 miles southeast of Moab, Utah, below the June 2021 wildfire burn area.

Date published: November 18, 2020

Drought Watch Reduced to 20 Pennsylvania Counties, Drought Warning Continues in 3 Counties

See current status 2/4/21

USGS groundwater and surface water monitoring data contributed to the August 21, 2020 drought watch declaration for 16 counties by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP). The last drought...

Publications

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Year Published: 2017

USGS integrated drought science

Project Need and OverviewDrought poses a serious threat to the resilience of human communities and ecosystems in the United States (Easterling and others, 2000). Over the past several years, many regions have experienced extreme drought conditions, fueled by prolonged periods of reduced precipitation and exceptionally warm temperatures. Extreme...

Ostroff, Andrea C.; Muhlfeld, Clint C.; Lambert, Patrick M.; Booth, Nathaniel L.; Carter, Shawn L.; Stoker, Jason M.; Focazio, Michael J.
Ostroff, A.C., Muhlfeld, C.C., Lambert, P.M., Booth, N.L., Carter, S.L., Stoker, J.M., and Focazio, M.J., 2017, USGS integrated drought science: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1430, 24 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1430.

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Year Published: 2016

Variability and trends in runoff efficiency in the conterminous United States

Variability and trends in water-year runoff efficiency (RE) — computed as the ratio of water-year runoff (streamflow per unit area) to water-year precipitation — in the conterminous United States (CONUS) are examined for the 1951 through 2012 period. Changes in RE are analyzed using runoff and precipitation data aggregated to United States...

McCabe, Gregory J.; Wolock, David M.

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Year Published: 2016

Enhancing drought resilience with conjunctive use and managed aquifer recharge in California and Arizona

Projected longer‐term droughts and intense floods underscore the need to store more water to manage climate extremes. Here we show how depleted aquifers have been used to store water by substituting surface water use for groundwater pumpage (conjunctive use, CU) or recharging groundwater with surface water (Managed Aquifer Recharge, MAR). Unique...

Scanlon, Bridget R.; Reedy, Robert C.; Faunt, Claudia C.; Pool, Donald R.; Uhlman, Kristine;