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Name: Maryanne
Status: N/A
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
What is drought? How is the forecast for drought made?


Replies:
Maryanne,

Drought is defined as the condition where the lack of precipitation over a sufficiently long period causes a hydrological imbalance. The effects of drought include reduced yield of crops, reduced availability of drinking water, brown lawns, etc.

The National Weather Service, as well as private forecasting companies, keep track of the deficit in precipitation in comparison with what is normally received in the geographic location. At a certain deficit level, it is considered a drought, although the term "drought" is often used very loosely by the television or newspaper reporters for any extended dry period. The extent of bad effects from lack of precipitation are what makes a drought light or severe.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory


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