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Paleoclimate Drought Resources

Droughts, periods of below-normal precipitation, are a naturally occurring phenomenon in most areas of the

Droughts may be short in duration-- such as an agricultural drought that lasts only a few months but nevertheless devastates crops-- or they may be severe hydrologic droughts that go on for a decade or longer, as in the case of the "mega-drought" in American Southwest during the 16th Century.

Because instrumented records are limited to primarily the past 100-150 years, paleoclimate records are crucial to gaining a long-term perspective on drought variability, particularly when it comes to multi-decadal droughts that have occurred prior to the instrumented records. Such an expanded view provides insight into what a "normal" climatic range is for a region.

Links to Drought Resources from the WDC for Paleoclimatology

In addition to the long-term perspective on drought provided by the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program, there are numerous other resources within NOAA regarding drought that can be accessed through the NOAA Drought Information Center.

Drought Monitor
Map courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center. Click on image to access current Drought Monitor.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
22 November 2003