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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center » Agroclimate and Hydraulics Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #406835

Research Project: Development of a Monitoring Network, Engineering Tools, and Guidelines for the Design, Analysis, and Rehabilitation of Embankment Dams, Hydraulic Structures, and Channels

Location: Agroclimate and Hydraulics Research Unit

Title: A case study of drought: the dry summer of 2022 in the midwest USA

item WEAVER, SARAH - University Of Missouri
item GUINAN, PATRICK - University Of Missouri
item SEMENOVA, INNA - Odessa State Environmental University (OSENU)
item ALOYSIUS, NOEL - University Of Missouri
item LUPO, ANTHONY - University Of Missouri
item Hunt, Sherry

Submitted to: Atmosphere
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2023
Publication Date: 9/14/2023
Citation: Weaver, S.M., Guinan, P.E., Semenova, I.G., Aloysius, N., Lupo, A.R., Hunt, S. 2023. A case study of drought: the dry summer of 2022 in the midwest USA. Atmosphere. 14(9).

Interpretive Summary: Drought is an ongoing issue during summer months. The occurrence of drought is mainly due to abnormal and prolonged dry weather conditions that cause severe water stress. The onset, spatial, and temporal variability of droughts change from year to year. The frequency and severity of drought has been increasing globally over the past decades. Here, we examine the spread of summer 2022 drought in the Midwestern United States using the data available at the National Centers for Atmospheric Research and the University of Missouri. Our findings reveal that several atmospheric conditions such as atmospheric pressure and wind patterns in the east Pacific Region may have triggered the onset of drought. In addition, stronger potential evaporative demand on the land surface and concurrent lack in rainfall extended the duration and the spatial extent. Our findings on the remote teleconnections and regional land surface conditions that led to the summer 2022 drought, may provide additional new knowledge to develop and improve drought predictions in that we could potentially provide early warnings in the Midwestern United States. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Technical Abstract: The summer of 2022 was very dry across the Missouri and surrounding regions including much of the Great Lakes, Midwest, and southern plains of the USA. A comparison of this summer to the dry summer of 2012, and the relatively wet summers of 2018 and 2021 was carried out using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction / National Centers for Atmospheric Research reanalysis, the Climate Prediction Center teleconnection indexes, and the blocking archive at the University of Missouri. The summer of 2022 was like that of 2012 which was characterized by a strong 500 hPa height anomaly centered over the western US and plains as well as very little blocking in the East Pacific. The summers of 2018 and 2021 were characterized by more zonal flow over the USA and more blocking in the East Pacific similar to the results of an earlier study. The teleconnection indexes for the prior spring and summer were largely similar for the two drier years and opposite for the wetter years. The surface conditions for the drier years were more similar while these were opposite for the wetter years. However, one key difference was that the spring of 2022 was characterized by blocking more consistent with a wetter summer. This would have made the predictability of the drought of summer 2022 less certain. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.