Climatological Drought in Arizona: An Analysis of Indicators for Guiding the Governor's Drought Task Force

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Abstract

Lacking a federal policy to address local water deficiencies within the United States, many states have developed their own methods for monitoring drought in an effort to mitigate its effects. This article provides an overview of efforts to standardize the use of drought indices in order to compare recent and historical drought both spatially and temporally for Arizona. Yearly averages of the Palmer Drought Severity Index and the Standardized Precipitation Index are placed into a frequency distribution to create standardization among the indices. The 1896–1904 drought ranked as the most severe, although the 1996–2004 drought was a close second.

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