More Georgia Drought

I spent some time yesterday looking for better measures than simple precipitation to describe the current drought situation in Northern Georgia. This is from a data set of Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index for north-central Georgia from the National Climatic Data Center. One of the problems with using precipitation alone, which I’ve been blogging about thus far, is that it doesn’t take temperature into consideration. The last year has been warmer than the long term average in northern Georgia, which can exacerbate drought conditions. The Palmer formula takes that into account. The Palmer hydrologic index is a variant of the classic Palmer index that takes into account longer term precipitation deficits, which seems to match most closely what we’re talking about in northern Georgia.

With that as a preface: Current PHDI for north-central Georgia is -4.59, which definitely qualifies as a badass drought. But if you look at the graph, you’ll see that Georgia has had lots of droughts this bad over the last century – seven that are at -4 or worse, which is the neighborhood we’re in right now.


  1. This Georgia article on the drought is interesting. It makes it almost seem like they’re willing to come to grips with the fundamental problem, but then about two-thirds of the way through there’s a passage extolling Las Vegas as a model for how to continue sprawl even if the present drought turns out to be the start of a new climate regime.

  2. No need to publish this note, but this post appears to have been hacked. Look at the page source (which comes through on the RSS feed as well).

  3. Gavin –

    Thanks. I seem to have a bit of an issue with haxors. Should be cleaned up now, though I really need some sort of better long term solution.

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