October 18, 2023

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Streams Can Take Over Three Years to Recover from Drought

Researchers examined the impact of dry weather patterns on the groundwater entering streams. They found drought can impact a stream’s baseflow for up to 41 months.

Drought can appear in streams in two ways. One is from the atmosphere, with less water falling as rain and snow. The other is water from the ground, with less water entering streams from underground aquifers. This water from the ground, called baseflow, is particularly important during periods of meteorological drought (when dry weather patterns dominate an area) because it can keep a stream flowing despite a lack of precipitation. 

New research from UC Riverside examined how baseflow responds to periods of low precipitation and how long it takes for baseflow to recover from meteorological drought. The study found baseflow droughts are more severe than meteorological drought, with baseflow droughts ranging from 9 to 104 months in duration. It also takes longer for a stream to recover from baseflow drought; drought impacts in baseflow last up to 41 months after meteorological drought has ended. Baseflow droughts are also growing longer and more severe amid rising temperatures under climate change.

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News & Updates

Growing Drought Is Shrinking Global Economies

Water deficits are becoming more frequent across the world. As drought, human activity, and demand for water increase, more areas will be impacted by water scarcity and areas with existing water scarcity will face greater challenges. Droughts exacerbate existing vulnerabilities: 85% of people affected by drought globally live in low- or middle-income nations. These nations also face the most severe negative economic impacts due to drought, particularly those with greater dependence on agriculture. The World Bank recently released a report examining the impact of drought on global economies: "Droughts and Deficits - Summary Evidence of the Global Impact on Economic Growth." Learn more >

Ocean--Monthly--Difference-from-average-Sea-Surface-Temperature--Global--2023-09-00--large image

Strong El Niño, Stronger Chance of Matching Past El Niño Precipitation Patterns

Forecasters expect El Niño will continue through the spring, with a 75-85% chance it will become a strong event. The stronger the El Niño, the more likely it will affect global temperature and rain/snow patterns in expected ways. Ocean surface and atmospheric conditions tell us that El Niño will stick around for the next few months at least. Learn more >

NOAA Invests $26 Million to Improve Drought and Flood Forecasts

The Department of Commerce and NOAA announced that $26 million in funding will be invested over four years in the National Weather Service National Mesonet Program and NIDIS to support a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide improved early warning for drought, flooding, and other natural hazards in the Upper Missouri River Basin.

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Explore Precipitation Across the Nation with New CoCoRaHS Data Explorer

The Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) recently launched a new data explorer, which allows users to visualize snow, rain and hail data from more than 26,000 observers in the CoCoRaHS community. CoCoRaHS is a community-based network of volunteers working to measure and map precipitation across the U.S. and beyond. Learn more >

NIDIS Drought Alert Emails: Get Local Drought Conditions and Outlooks in Your Inbox

Get automated email alerts from NIDIS when U.S. Drought Monitor conditions change for your location, or when NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center releases a new drought outlook, predicting whether drought will remain, develop, improve, or be removed. Sign up here >

Sign Up for the NIHHIS Heat Beat Newsletter

The Heat Beat newsletter, by NOAA's National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS), provides information on extreme urban heat in communities across the U.S. Subscribers will get ideas for running and publicizing heat-mapping campaigns and learn ways urban heat issues can be addressed. Sign up here >

Correction: A gif of two images of the Mississippi River included in the October 5 edition of Dry Times was incorrectly dated. The images included were from September 10, 2021 and September 16, 2023.


Events & Webinars

October 19, 2023 - 1 p.m. CT

North Central U.S. Climate & Drought Summary & Outlook Webinar

October 23, 2023 - 11 a.m. PT

Pacific Northwest DEWS October Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar

October 24, 2023 - 10 a.m. ET

Southeast Climate Monthly Webinar

October 30, 2023 - 12 p.m. CT

Drought and Public Health:

A Roadmap for Advancing Engagement and Preparedness

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) was authorized by Congress in 2006 (Public Law 109-430) with an interagency mandate to develop and provide a national drought early warning information system, by coordinating and integrating drought research, and building upon existing federal, tribal, state, and local partnerships.