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Authors

National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USDA, NOAA

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States, Caribbean, Oceania, Puerto Rico, U.S. Pacific Islands, U.S. Caribbean Islands

U.S. Drought Monitor

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Synopsis
  • This interactive map and summary provide up-to-date information about the state of droughts in the United States, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, and some Pacific Islands.
  • There are links for additional information, students can click on various regions for more details, and all maps and data can be downloaded.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This resource is updated weekly and provides a summary of drought conditions in eight regions within the United States. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a map.

Differentiation

  • The map identifies the locations of major rivers and all state boundaries, so it could be useful for geography courses.
  • Related topics to explore with students include the links between droughts and more intense wildfires, food and water security, wildlife populations, plant communities, and human migration patterns.
  • Other resources about drought include this video about the drought in California, this article about droughts, and this article about climate migrants affected by drought.
Scientist Notes
This resource highlights areas exposed to drought risks and also locations experiencing drought conditions. The water balance ratio was calculated to aid the scaling of drought conditions in the locations. Since datasets are updated regularly, this resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
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