U.S. temperatures have soared above even those during the drought and dustbowl of the 1930s.
In a region spanning approximately 12 states, farmers are experiencing the worst drought in decades. The record temperatures and low rainfall have affected livestock pastures and crop maturation during a crucial time in the growing season. The region already uses large amounts of water for irrigation, and more will be needed to salvage fields that still promise a healthy yield.
To be considered a disaster area, a region must remain in drought condition for eight weeks; currently there are 1,016 counties and 26 U.S. states in the disaster area. The past 12 months have been the warmest in U.S. history since data collection began in 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
The need to adapt to climate change is urgent. The Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN) created the GAIN Index to Measure What Matters. Forty-two indicators in sectors such as water, food & agriculture, energy and coastal protection measure how each country ranks in terms of its vulnerability and readiness to adapt to global challenges like drought and flood. See index.gain.org to learn more.