Probability and Climatology of Droughts in the Western United States

by Hugo A. Loaiciga, Univ of California, Santa Barbara, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management: Saving a Threatened Resource—In Search of Solutions


The incidence of drought in the western United States is caused primarily by large-scale anomalies in the circulation of atmospheric, midlatitudinal, transport and the occurrence of the El Nino - Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Regional convective transport anomalies can also affect the amount of precipitation over areas of the arid west. This paper reports a probabilistic account of the occurrence of droughts over important basins of the arid west of the United States. The synoptic climatology of the western United States and the relationship of ENSO to drought incidence are reviewed in this work.

Subject Headings: Droughts | Probability | Climates | Precipitation | Climate change | Light rail transit | Oscillations | Arid lands | United States

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