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Drought in Southeastern United States

Drought in Southeastern United States

May 2007 was a record-setting month in Georgia. Typically a dry month in this southern state, May 2007 was exceptionally so, with many locations setting record-low rainfall records and some receiving no rain at all, said state climatologist David Emory Stooksbury on GeorgiaDrought.org. The lack of rain slowed plant growth, as shown in this vegetation index image. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite collected the data used to make this image between May 9 and May 24, 2007. The image shows vegetation conditions compared to average conditions observed from 2000 through 2006.

Areas in which plants are more sparse or are growing more slowly than average are brown, while better-than-average growth is green. Georgia and its neighbors (South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida) are all brown, an indication that the lack of rainfall is suppressing plant growth. The gray area in southern Georgia and northern Florida shows where MODIS could not collect valid vegetation measurements, either because of clouds or smoke. In this case, the area corresponds with land that burned during this period and was probably masked by smoke.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided by Inbal Reshef, Global Agricultural Monitoring Project.