NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service National Climatic Data Center, U.S. Department of Commerce
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program, NCDC Paleoclimatology Branch  
Paleoclimatology Navigation Bar Bookmark and Share
NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA National Climatic Data Center U.S. Department of Commerce Paleo Home Data Paleo Projects Paleo Perspectives Education and Outreach About Paleo Program Site Map
Data Access Tutorial Glossary About CTL CTL Site Map
CTL Overview white space
Today white space
1 Year white space
10 Years white space
100 Years white space
1,000 Years white space
10,000 Years white space
100,000 Years white space

white space
    Climate TimeLine Tutorial:
Focus on Drought


The following is designed as a tutorial for the Climate Time Line. By focusing on drought, we will explore how to use the CTL and its various resources, including accessing and analyzing data that relate to your region of interest.

2002 might be known as the year of the drought in many parts of the United States. Across the country, headlines warn of drought emergencies and the potential for water rationing, particularly along the East Coast where an extended period of low precipitation has left reservoirs from Maine to Georgia far below normal.

In the West, an article in the Denver Post warned that "Four dry winters spell drought" due to snowfall levels well below average in mountain basins.
(See Colorado NRCS Snow Surveys).

Droughts occur periodically throughout time, while some parts of the world experience it on a regular basis. The Climate Timeline Tool offers several possibilities to explore drought periods at different time intervals.

What is Drought?
NOAA's All About Droughts page defines drought as

"a period of abnormally dry weather which persists long enough to produce a serious hydrologic imbalance (for example crop damage, water supply shortage, etc.) The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration and the size of the affected area."

More detailed information about drought can be found on the Drought: A Paleo Perspective -- What is Drought? by NOAA's Paleoclimatology Program. Also see Current Drought Termination and Amelioration Ending Current Drought from National Climatic Data Center.

Is There a Drought Right Now?

The image below is a the most current snapshot of drought conditions across the U.S. It is provided by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. More in depth information can be found on the U.S. Drought Monitor Page and the NOAA Drought Information Center.

Click the Drought Button to Continue
All images from NOAA
Dividing Line
Privacy Policy information User Survey link First Gov logo Disclaimer information
Dividing Line
Downloaded Tuesday, 17-Jan-2017 20:39:40 EST
Last Updated Wednesday, 20-Aug-2008 11:22:39 EDT by
Please see the Paleoclimatology Contact Page or the NCDC Contact Page if you have questions or comments.