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A hydrologic perspective of major U.S. droughts

Drought is a recurring natural hazard that has substantial human and environmental impacts. Given continued global warming and associated climate change, there is concern that droughts could become more severe and longer lasting. To better monitor and understand drought development and persistence, it is helpful to understand the development and climatic drivers of past droughts. In this study we
Gregory J. McCabe, David M. Wolock, Melissa Lombard, Robert W. Dudley, John Christopher Hammond, Jory Seth Hecht, Glenn A. Hodgkins, Carolyn G. Olson, Roy Sando, Caelan E. Simeone, Michael E. Wieczorek

Going beyond low flows: Streamflow drought deficit and duration illuminate distinct spatiotemporal drought patterns and trends in the U.S. during the last century

Streamflow drought is a recurring challenge, and understanding spatiotemporal patterns of past droughts is needed to manage future water resources. We examined regional patterns in streamflow drought metrics and compared these metrics to low flow timing and magnitude using long-term daily records for 555 minimally disturbed watersheds. For each streamgage, we calculated streamflow drought duration
John C. Hammond, Caelan E. Simeone, Jory Seth Hecht, Glenn A. Hodgkins, Melissa Lombard, Gregory J. McCabe, David M. Wolock, Michael Wieczorek, Carolyn G Olson, Todd Caldwell, Robert W. Dudley, Adam N. Price

Tree rings reveal unmatched 2nd century drought in the Colorado River Basin

The ongoing 22 year drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) has been extremely severe, even in the context of the longest available tree-ring reconstruction of annual flow at Lees Ferry, Arizona, dating back to 762 CE. While many southwestern drought assessments have been limited to the past 1200 years, longer paleorecords of moisture variability do exist for the UCRB. Here, gridded droug
Subhrendu Gangopadhyay, Connie Woodhouse, Gregory J. McCabe, Cody C. Routson, David Meko

Extensive droughts in the conterminous United States during multiple centuries

Extensive and severe droughts have substantial effects on water supplies, agriculture, and aquatic ecosystems. To better understand these droughts, we used tree-ring-based reconstructions of the Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) for the period 1475–2017 to examine droughts that covered at least 33% of the conterminous United States (CONUS). We identified 37 spatially extensive drought events fo
Gregory J. McCabe, David M. Wolock

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 drought has far-reaching impacts on water supplies, e
Andrea C. Ostroff, Clint C. Muhlfeld, Patrick M. Lambert, Nathaniel L. Booth, Shawn L. Carter, Jason M. Stoker, Michael J. Focazio

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 Geological Survey 8-digit hydrologic cataloging units (HUs
Gregory J. McCabe, David M. Wolock

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 multi‐decadal monitoring from thousands of wells and
Bridget R. Scanlon, Robert C. Reedy, Claudia C. Faunt, Donald R. Pool, Kristine; Uhlman

Hydrologic conditions in the South Coast aquifer, Puerto Rico, 2010–15

In 1958, the U.S. Geological Survey began documenting hydrologic conditions, including groundwater levels, groundwater withdrawals for agricultural irrigation and public water supply, and water quality, in the South Coast aquifer, Puerto Rico. This information has improved the understanding of the water resources of the region. The hydrologic data indicate that (1) groundwater levels declined as m
Sigfredo Torres-Gonzalez, Jose M. Rodriguez

Drought-sensitive aquifer settings in southeastern Pennsylvania

This report describes the results of a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey, to determine drought-sensitive aquifer settings in southeastern Pennsylvania. Because all or parts of southeastern Pennsylvania have been in drought-warning or drought-emergency status
Tammy M. Zimmerman, Dennis W. Risser