NOAA drought maps

NOAA long-term drought indicator

With the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a report predicting megadroughts of 30-50 years duration by the middle of the century, drought monitor maps can help targeted regions prepare.

According to the report, hardest hit will be the Southwest and Central Plains.  But other regions will be impacted, as well. North and South Carolina, Virginia, the Northeast and south Florida are expected to feel its effects.

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

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

Is the soil in your region ready for a megadrought?

One of the contributing factors to drought is increases in evaporation over arid lands.  If climate change linked to carbon emissions results in less rainfall, increasing temperatures will evaporate more water from the soil.

But compost can help.

Compost-amended soil has the ability to hold many times its weight in water.  Studies from a “typical” rainfall event of 1 inch or less show little to no runoff in soil with recommended levels or organic matter.  A quality compost, at about 50 percent organic matter, is among the most cost-effective strategies for raising soil organic matter (SOM).

Compost use over multiple years 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.