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Kristopher B. Karnauskas
,
Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas
,
Sumant Nigam
, and
Antonio J. Busalacchi

1. Introduction Estimates of annual economic loss in the United States directly attributable to drought are in the range of $6–8 billion. In response to growing concern from local and national leadership, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) has been established to synthesize the work of modeling and reanalysis communities with that of monitoring and application communities. The most widely used index to monitor drought conditions in the United States is the Palmer drought

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Sergio M. Vicente-Serrano
,
Santiago Beguería
,
Jorge Lorenzo-Lacruz
,
Jesús Julio Camarero
,
Juan I. López-Moreno
,
Cesar Azorin-Molina
,
Jesús Revuelto
,
Enrique Morán-Tejeda
, and
Arturo Sanchez-Lorenzo

1. Introduction Drought is among the most complex climatic phenomena affecting society and the environment ( Wilhite 1993 ). The root of this complexity is related to the difficulty of quantifying drought severity since we identify a drought by its effects or impacts on different types of systems (agriculture, water resources, ecology, forestry, economy, etc.), but there is not a physical variable we can measure to quantify droughts. Thus, droughts are difficult to pinpoint in time and space

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Mary Noel
,
Deborah Bathke
,
Brian Fuchs
,
Denise Gutzmer
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Michael Hayes
,
Markéta Poděbradská
,
Claire Shield
,
Kelly Smith
, and
Mark Svoboda

Motivation Linking drought impact information to drought monitoring has long been cited as a need in the drought community ( Western Governors Association 2004 ; Hayes et al. 2011 ; Meadow et al. 2013 ; Lackstrom et al. 2017 ). By associating qualitative descriptions of drought impacts with levels of drought, a more complete characterization of drought can be formed to improve drought planning, reporting, and early warning tools. The United States Drought Monitor ( USDM ; Svoboda et al

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Richard Seager

1. Introduction After the 1997–98 El Niño, drought struck across almost the entire United States, northern Mexico, and the Canadian Prairies. At its most severe, between 1999 and 2002, drought stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean causing forest fires in the American Southwest and Quebec and causing widespread alarm about water resources, even in New York City. The drought ended in eastern North America in the fall of 2002 but continued farther west. In the winter of 2004

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Yeonsang Hwang
and
Gregory J. Carbone

1. Introduction Drought is part of natural climate variability, but anticipating its occurrence remains challenging because some parts of the hydrologic cycle (e.g., precipitation, soil moisture, or groundwater level) are not easily forecast. Yet, the desire to mitigate impacts on agriculture and water resources ( Steinemann 2006 ) has resulted in the development of drought prediction methods. As long as perfect drought forecasts with long lead times remain elusive, predictions should include

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Matías Méndez
and
Víctor Magaña

1. Introduction Persistent or prolonged droughts (duration of more than one year) have had negative consequences on the socioeconomic life of Mexico ( Endfield et al. 2004 ; Endfield and Fernández-Tejedo 2006 ; Acuña-Soto et al. 2000 , 2002 ). For example, some studies suggest that the collapse of the Mayan empire was related to a major drought episode in the eighth century ( Culbert 1973 ; Hodell et al. 1995 , 2007 ). The so-called mega-drought in the sixteenth century, described through

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Zachary T. Leasor
,
Steven M. Quiring
, and
Mark D. Svoboda

1. Introduction Drought is characterized by precipitation deficits that have an effect on both the environment and its ecosystems ( Heim 2002 ). Drought is one of the most complex natural hazards because it is difficult to quantify drought severity ( Wilhite and Pulwarty 2017 ) and assess drought impacts given the large number of systems affected ( Wilhite 2000 ). The task of monitoring drought conditions and defining drought severity is further complicated because the characteristics of

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Hi-Ryong Byun
and
Donald A. Wilhite

1. Introduction The study of drought can be classified into four categories. The first category deals with the causes of drought and seeks an improved understanding of atmospheric circulation associated with drought occurrences. The second category is directed at understanding the frequency and severity of drought in order to characterize the probability of occurrence of droughts of various magnitudes. The third category attempts to describe and understand the impacts of drought. This category

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Caily Schwartz
,
Tonya Haigh
,
Mark Svoboda
, and
Madeline Goebel

1. Introduction Droughts have a large economic impact and can affect ecological and social processes due to the disruption of normal water availability. Between the years 1980–2022, an average of $7 billion was lost to drought each year through direct (crop or animal loss) or indirect impacts (increase in price of goods; NCEI 2022 ; Smith and Katz 2013 ; Smith and Matthews 2015 ). Droughts lack discrete boundaries and are difficult to define. Conventional drought is thought of as a

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Philip J. Pegion
and
Arun Kumar

1. Introduction Toward identifying the causal mechanism for the occurrences of long-term droughts, the Drought Working Group (DWG) of the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability component of the World Climate Research Programme (CLIVAR) was formed in December 2006. The approach of the DWG was to coordinate evaluations of existing model simulations and to also coordinate new experiments designed to address some of the outstanding questions related to drought variability and predictability

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