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Drought Assessment in the Northern Great Plains

PI: Noel Aloysius
Institution: University of North Dakota
Abstract:
The Northern Great Plains are notorious for their weather extremes. The summer of 2005 was exceptionally wet in North Dakota which ruined crops in several areas. The summer of 2006 was exact opposite. Mother Nature silently settled into a pattern of below average precipitation and above average temperatures through out the growing season. With Central South Dakota as the epicenter, the severe drought that swept through several parts of the Northern Great Plains caused serious losses to the incomes of farmers and ranchers in the region.

Unlike floods and hurricanes which results in instantaneously devastating impacts, the impacts of drought are slow but steady.

All studies of climate change indicate that frequency of occurence of extreme events will increase in the future. This will lead to severe consequences on the established economies of the region, especially agriculture. The study looks at past climate and future projections and their likely impacts on agriculure in the Great Plains.
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