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How Does the Early 21st Century Drought in the U.S. Compare to the Drought Episodes of the 1930s and 1950s? - Sept. 20, 2017

Event Date & Time

Wednesday, 2017, September 20 - 12:00pm

Speaker: Richard R. Heim Jr., Meteorologist, NOAA/NESDIS/National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Presenting remotely from Asheville, NC.

Sponsor: NOAA's National Ocean Service Science Seminar, coordinated by Tracy.Gill@noaa.gov 

The United States experienced a severe drought which peaked in 2012 and which was characterized by near-record extent, record warmth, and record dryness in several areas. For some regions, the 2012 drought was a continuation of drought which began in earlier years and which continued through 2014. The 1998-2014 drought episode is compared to the two other major drought episodes of the 20th century in terms of duration, areal extent, intensity, and spatial pattern using operational datasets produced by the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. It is characterized by more short-term dryness, more concurrent (regional) wetness, and warmer temperatures than the other two drought episodes. The implications of these differences for water resource managers and decision-makers will be discussed.

About the Speaker: Richard R. Heim Jr. earned a bachelors degree in Mathematics (with 5 minors) and a masters in meteorology/climatology from the Geography Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During his 35 years with NOAA, Mr. Heim managed the 1961-1990 U.S. and Global Climate Normals project, the Snow Climatology Project, and the first two years of the U.S. Climate Reference Network. He has been involved in drought monitoring and drought research at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Research since 1988, is an author of the U.S. Drought Monitor and North American Drought Monitor, and is collaborating with colleagues in the U.S. and internationally on the creation of the Global Drought Information System.

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