Drought's Intensity is Impressive on Satellite Imagery
Adverse conditions are severely limiting vegetative activity in the Plains and across the southern Midwest, with broad areas of stress elsewhere as well.
Published: Jul 19, 2012
Farm Futures has partnered with the Ecology and Agriculture Spatial Analysis Laboratory (EASAL) at Kansas State University to bring these maps to you. Each map is composed from satellite data taken over a two-week period. The EASAL maps show current vegetative health for the past two weeks and compare vegetative health with the previous two-week period, with the previous year and with the long-term average. Green reflects healthy vegetative development, while brown reflects a lack of healthy vegetative biomass production.
Continental U.S. Vegetation Condition
Satellite imagery shows summer vegetative growth occurring across much of the eastern half of the country, but the drought is really taking its toll in the Plains, with damage becoming more evident in the southern and eastern Midwest as well. Vegetative activity is best in New England and in the northern Great Lakes.
Early July 2012 Compared to 23-Year Average
The intensity of this year's drought really shows up on this graphic comparing early July vegetative activity to the 23-year average for the period. Crop and other vegetative stress is greatest in the Plains, as well as across the southern Midwest into the Mid-Atlantic. However, we're also seeing increasing vegetative stress in southern Wisconsin and much of the eastern Midwest.
Early July 2012 Compared to Late June/Early July 2012
The greatest amount of vegetative deterioration relative to late June actually took place in the southeastern quarter of the United States, with crop health also deteriorating in the Northern Plains. Scattered rains provided some relief to scattered areas stretching from northwest Kansas and southeastern Nebraska across Iowa, northern Illinois and into western Ohio.
Early July 2012 Compared to Early July 2011
Crop health is much worse than the previous year in the northern High Plains, as well as in an area stretching eastward from Kansas to the Mid-Atlantic. Conditions in the Southern Plains are still relatively dry, but the drought is not as intense in that region as it was a year ago at this time.
Early July 1989 - 2011
This graphic shows the long-term average vegetative health for this time of year.
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