We analyzed precipitation and temperature data from 1901-2015, to identify sub-regions of seasonal drought in the U.S. Great Plains by comparing long-term data over space and time, and geographically match patterns in drought severity and variability.
9-12 subregions of similar trends in precipitation and temperature in winter, spring, summer and fall were identified. Subregions had high internal correlation between geographic and historical climate data.
The study also found throughout the Great Plains drought frequency has decreased but drought severity has increased. Additionally severity of precipitation events has also increased. Summer droughts were found to be more variable over space and time than winter droughts, resulting in the requirement of more sub-regions to adequately describe summer droughts than winter droughts.
The following provides a richer understanding of spatial-temporal variation in drought events, and can better inform preparedness and response to future agricultural drought in the Great Plains.
Publication: Zambreski, Z.T., X. Lin, R. M.Aiken, G.J.Kluitenberg, and R.A.Pielke (2018). Identification of hydroclimate subregions for seasonal drought monitoring in the U.S. Great Plains. Journal of Hydrology.