Drought monitor maps: keep an eye on your region

A NASA report predicts megadroughts of 30-50 years duration by the middle of the century.  Drought monitor maps can help targeted regions prepare.

NOAA drought maps

NOAA long-term drought indicator

According to the report, hardest hit will be the Southwest and Central Plains.  But the Carolinas, Virginia, the Northeast and south Florida will suffer, too.

This was the first study to use tree rings to establish moisture conditions over the last 1,000 years.  It identified megadroughts in North America between 1100 and 1300:

“These medieval-period droughts, on a year-to-year basis, were no worse than droughts seen in the recent past.  But they lasted, in some cases, 30 to 50 years.”

Is the soil in your region ready for a megadrought?

A contributing factor to drought is increase in evaporation over arid lands.  When climate change lowers rainfall, rising temperatures evaporate more water from the soil.

But compost can help.

A quality compost is about 50 percent organic matter.  So compost use is a very cost-effective strategy for raising soil organic matter (SOM).

Compost-amended soil has the ability to hold many times its weight in water.  A “typical” rainfall (1 inch or less) has little to no runoff in soil with recommended levels of organic matter.

Over many years, compost use can help prepare the soil for longer periods of scant rainfall.

Locate drought monitor maps for your region

View a U.S. drought map by state or region from the U.S. Drought Monitor website.

View European drought monitor maps from the European Commission’s European Drought Observatory (EDO).

Visit the Global Drought Portal to view other world drought monitor maps.

Read more

U.C. Davis:  7 tips for landscape survival during drought — written for drought-prone California, but includes good ideas for any region.