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Utah Droughts since 1500 by R. Clayton Brough, ABC4 (KTVX) Climatologist, August 3, 2003

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Utah Droughts since 1500 by R. Clayton Brough, ABC4 (KTVX) Climatologist, August 3, 2003 There are several ways to define a drought….

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Utah Droughts since 1500by R. Clayton Brough, ABC4 (KTVX) Climatologist, August 3, 2003

There are several ways to define a drought…

Hydrologic DroughtsUtah’s Multi-YearDroughts since 1895(U.S.G.S. Fact Sheet# 037-03, April 2003)1896-1905 – 10 years 1930-1936 – 7 years1953-1965 – 13 years1974-1979 – 6 years1988-1993 – 6 years1999-2003 – 5 years…?

Statistical DroughtsSalt Lake City ConsecutiveBelow-Normal Water Yearssince 1857 (Brough, July 2002)1860-1864 – 5 years1879-1883 – 5 years1887-1889 – 3 years1900-1903 – 4 years1928-1940 – 14 years1953-1956 – 4 years1958-1961 – 4 years1987-1990 – 4 years1999-2003 – 5 years…?

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Dendroclimatic Droughts (using Tree-Ring Data)

Using tree-ringsscientists have reconstructed 500 years of climate changes throughout the United States.

BAMS BulletinJuly 2003, p.902

Article in theBulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyJuly 2003

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(Wet Periods)

Scientists have discovered four very wet periods during the past 500 years. These periods lasted between 10 to 21 years, with the last one happening between 1905-1917.

BAMS BulletinJuly 2003, p.904

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Scientists have discoveredfive droughts similar tothe Dust-Bowl period of1929-1940.These droughts lasted8 to 12 years long.

BAMS BulletinJuly 2003, p.905

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BAMS BulletinJuly 2003, p.906

Scientists have discovered 12droughts thatwere similarto the dry spellof 1946-1956. These droughts lasted between 6to 18 years long.

Utah experienced a 13-year hydrologic drought from1953-1965.

Droughts similarto1946-1956

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When the Mormon Pioneers entered Utah in 1847, they arrived near the end of a severe eight-year long drought. During the 1850’s and 1860’s, precipitation generally averaged near or above normal throughout most of the Intermountain Region.

In 1870 another drought began. This dry spell lasted 14 years--from 1870 to 1883—and caused problems for some pioneer settlements and Native Americans who were living in southern Utah and the southwestern U.S.

BAMS BulletinJuly 2003, p.906

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Dry periods can last3 to 18 years long!

There is an averageof about 24 years between prolonged droughts--like theone of 1946-1956.Therefore, will thenext prolongeddrought across the Western U.S. occurin the 2020’s?

Before the next prolonged drought, we needto increase water conservation and improve and maintain water storage facilities!

What canwe learn from this research?

Droughts can lastan average of…

Statistical: 5 years

Hydrological: 8 years

Dendroclimatic: 10 years

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