122 How does the drought of 2012 compare to earlier droughts in Kansas, USA?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Aavudai Anandhi, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS; and M. Knapp, S. L. Huchinson, and C. W. Rice

Drought is a natural disaster that has a major economic impact in Kansas, owing to the vulnerability of the region's agricultural sector to weather variability. It is documented in literature that multi-year droughts are again recurring in Kansas and hydrological droughts are becoming more severe, even without larger precipitation deficits occurring- implying that future droughts could be even more devastating. Recent growing season drought this year is of concern as significant moisture stress caused pre- and post- flowering drought in crops which can result in drastic reductions in grain yield and size. Hence, the objective of this study is to compare the drought occurring in 2012 with the earlier droughts in six climate divisions in Kansas. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI-1, 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24), a valuable tool for quantifying the impacts of drought and comparing the intensity of drought across time and space, was used for this purpose. Data from 1900 to July 2012 was used in the preliminary study. The results show variability in the severity of drought across the climate divisions, month and type of SPI. When compared to the great drought in the 1930s, this year had a wetter early spring but drier start of growing season based on preliminary data through July 2012. It will be interesting to observe how this progresses in the next few months.

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