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Droughts


A drought is a period of unusually persistant dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size and location of the affected area.

There are actually four different ways that drought can be defined.
Meteorological - a measure of departure of precipitation from normal. Due to climatic differences, what might be considered a drought in one location of the country may not be a drought in another location.
Agricultural - refers to a situation where the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.
Hydrological - occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
Socioeconomic - refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortages begin to affect people.
For the continental U.S., the most extensive U.S. drought in the modern observational record occurred from 1933 to 1938, the "Dust Bowl" period. In July 1934, 80% of the U.S. was gripped by moderate or greater drought, and nearly two-thirds (63%) was experiencing severe to extreme drought. During 1953-1957, severe drought covered up to one half of the country.
Because of their widespread occurance, droughts often produce economic impacts exceeding $1 billion. The costliest drought on record was the 1988 drought, which devastated crops in the Corn Belt, causing direct crop losses of $15 billion and much larger additional indirect economic impacts.
There is nothing we can do to prevent droughts since they result from long-term shifts in storm tracks away from the affected region, or persistent wind patterns that reduce the flow of moisture into a region. Often, "blocking weather patterns" that feature persistent, stationary high-pressure regions over an affected area are observed with droughts.

While we can't control these extended dry periods, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we seek to...

Understand the causes of long-lived droughts, such as in the 1930s Dust Bowl period.

Improve our drought monitoring ability, including estimates of soil moisture and snow water storage.

Determine the relationships between droughts and changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, and land use.

Through these projects, we seek to improve our forecasts, and your warnings, of these events and the actions you should take to decrease their impacts in your community.

Free Worksheets From myTestBook.com ------ © myTestBook.com, Inc.
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Question 1
What happens in a drought?
A. flash floodingB. scarcity of water
C. freezing temperaturesD. land sliding
Question 2
What does the severity of the drought depend on?
A. the duration of the water shortageB. the location
C. the degree of moisture deficiencyD. all of the above
Question 3
What happens in an Agricultural drought?
A. the amount of water in lakes and rivers no longer meets the needs of peopleB. the surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal
C. the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular cropD. surface water supplies are above normal
Question 4
Which of the following is NOT TRUE?
A. We can prevent droughts.B. We cannot prevent droughts.
C. The severity of a drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency.D. A Socioeconomic drought situation occurs when physical water shortages begin to affect people.
Question 5
What do you call a situation when physical water shortages begin to affect people?
A. Meteorological droughtB. Agricultural drought
C. Hydrological droughtD. Socioeconomic drought
Question 6
What happened during 1953-1957?
A. moderate drought covered one-third of the countryB. severe dust storm covered up to one half of the country
C. severe drought covered up to one half of the countryD. severe flooding covered up one-fifth of the country
Question 7
Which of the following is known as the "Dust Bowl" period?
A. from 1953-1957B. from 1933 to 1938
C. from 1923-1957D. from 1933-1963
Question 8
What happened in 1988 drought?
A. animals were devastatedB. crops were devastated
C. forests were devastatedD. oil sources were devastated
Question 9
A ___________________ drought occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
A. HydrologicalB. Meteorological
C. SocioeconomicD. Economic
Question 10
What does NOAA do?
A. Understands the causes of long-lived droughts.B. Improves our drought monitoring ability.
C. Determines the relationships between droughts and changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols, and land use.D. all of the above
Free Worksheets From myTestBook.com ------ © myTestBook.com, Inc.
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