Another Dry Essay

Drought in the US is something we have been following for years. We have decided it’s time to capture the parameters of the subject. As with many articles we write, we use them for an ongoing chronology of a topic, something that could not have been easily done before the World Wide Web. The importance of this topic is that California feeds North America and California agriculture is based on irrigation. Anything that reduces agricultural output in California will send fresh produce prices skyrocketing. Food inflation then propagates through the economy as reduced expenditure everywhere else. This issue affects you directly.

Figure 1. Progression of the California drought, Jan. to May, 2014.

And the current situation:

Figure 2. Current California drought assessment (through Sept. 2014.)

Source: US Drought Monitor.

What follows is the chronology of articles with associated comment. We may at some point create a summary.

Capturing the Information

An excellent site to find current drought conditions is the United States Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Another is the US Drought Portal. Also, they have a new interactive drought map.

As reported in temporal sequence:


Although a sub-category of the topic of droughts, megadroughts warrant separate attention since a 30-year drought were it to occur today would be socially and economically devastating. The point is that they happen relatively frequently in climate time and cannot be ascribed to human activity although claims will be made that AGW will be responsible for the next one – which may already have begun.


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