Jun 2017 - Historic drought across South Africa

By John Abatzoglou.

Jun 2017 -Parts of southwestern South Africa are experiencing their most severe drought in a century as water shortages are being imposed on residents of Cape Town as reservoir levels are critically low.  Precipitation shortfalls of more than 50% below normal are evident since last August, in contrast to the well above normal precipitation in Botswana and Zimbabwe.  This drought comes on the heels of a multiyear drought across South Africa.

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How Is it Measured?

Accumulated precipitation from the CHIRPS dataset was used to assess the drought. CHIRPS incorporates satellite data and station observations to create a high resolution (~5-km) dataset of 5-day precipitation totals from 1981-present. Precipitation is visualized as a percent of 1981-2010 normals.

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Climate Engine provides the ability to map climate and remotely sensed datasets globally for several datasets archived and regularly updated through Google’s Earth Engine. Users can select from datasets and variables, as well as choose to view the raw data or data expressed as a deviation from some baseline or expected value (e.g., long term averages). Users can choose from a set of variables and time periods, examine percentiles or anomalies, and customize the maps to their liking.

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Jun 2017 Drought across SW South Africa