Jim Carlton, in the Wall Street Journal last week (behind paywall, sorry*) does something I wish there was more of – looking at what happens when drought ends. In particular, a visit to Wyoming, where it was dry for a spell, then got wet:
“You can get out of drought if everything goes right, and this year it did,” said Justin Derner, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Northern Plains Climate Hub in Cheyenne.
Agriculture production has soared. Statewide yields of dryland wheat are running as high as 40 bushels per acre this year, compared with 20 last year and a historical average of 30, said Keith Kennedy, executive director of the Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission in Laramie.
I don’t know how this generalizes. There are a whole bunch of geographically-specific issues in each manifestation of drought, especially groundwater use and cropping decisions – permanent (almonds) vs. annuals (wheat). But this approach to thinking about drought is worth paying attention to.
* When you really want to read a WSJ story like this, the trick to getting around the paywall seems to be to grab the headline, head on over to Google News and search on the story there. The WSJ sometimes allow clicks from GN to bypass its paywall. Or you can, ya know, pay for the product you wish to consume and thus help enable schlubs like Carlton and I to keep doing what we do.