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Drought of 1934 in the United States

Nature volume 134, page 211 (11 August 1934) | Download Citation

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Abstract

“BY the close of May 1934 the most extensive drought in the climatological history of the United States had developed in the central valleys, the Lake Region and the North-western and Western States,” states J. B. Kincer, Chief of the Climate and Crop Weather Division of the U.S. Weather Bureau, in the Scientific Monthly of July, p. 95. In North Dakota the three spring months (March-May) yielded only 1-25 in. of rain, against the previous low record of 2-15 in. in 1901. In the north-west the serious shortage in sub-soil moisture and surface water supplies is the result of an accumulated de ficiency covering several years. There is no reason to suppose, however, that this prolonged deficiency indicates a permanent drift towards desert-like conditions; for long-period records show that periods of excessive drought may be expected to occur at intervals of 30-40 years. Thus similar periods of years with markedly deficient rainfall covered the ten years ending with 1864 and again the ten years ending with 1894, while between these periods were successive years with comparatively abundant rains. The 1934 drought was unusual in developing early, and as a consequence, instead of the corn crops being most seriously affected as occurs in summer droughts, the crops which have suffered most so far are hay, pastures and small grains.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/134211a0

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