Document Details

The West Wide Drought Tracker: Drought Monitoring at Fine Spatial Scales

John T. Abatzoglou, Daniel J. McEvoy, Kelly T. Redmond | September 1, 2017
Summary

 The western United States has seen increases in population and water use over the past century. Total water use has remained relatively unchanged over the past several decades due to water conservation efforts. However, water scarcity has become more acute across much of this semiarid region during recent decades due to long-term declines in water storage juxtaposed with the region’s notable hydroclimatic variability. Observed declines in mountain snowpack and increases in atmospheric demands tied to long-term warming trends have further exacerbated water scarcity and increased the importance of monitoring efforts given the array of social, economic, and ecosystem sectors dependent upon the already stressed water supply. The recent severe drought in California and protracted drought across much of the southwestern United States over the past couple decades have prompted demand for accessible drought decision-making information at appropriate spatial scales across the western United States. 

Description

 The western United States has seen increases in population and water use over the past century. Total water use has remained relatively unchanged over the past several decades due to water conservation efforts. However, water scarcity has become more acute across much of this semiarid region during recent decades due to long-term declines in water storage juxtaposed with the region’s notable hydroclimatic variability. Observed declines in mountain snowpack and increases in atmospheric demands tied to long-term warming trends have further exacerbated water scarcity and increased the importance of monitoring efforts given the array of social, economic, and ecosystem sectors dependent upon the already stressed water supply. The recent severe drought in California and protracted drought across much of the southwestern United States over the past couple decades have prompted demand for accessible drought decision-making information at appropriate spatial scales across the western United States. 

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Keywords:

drought, planning and management, water supply forecasting