Vulnerability to Drought
Drought is one of the costliest disasters in the U.S., causing 94 deaths and an inflation-adjusted $6.2 billion in losses per year on average since 1980.
While we often think of states in the western U.S. being most at risk of drought (based on the frequency and severity of drought there), a recent study modelled drought vulnerability defined as exposure and sensitivity to drought, as well as ability to adapt.
In this study, researchers found that states ranking highest in overall vulnerability often had less to do with how frequently drought occurs, and more with how prepared the state is for drought impacts.
Drought will continue to worsen in a warming world. However, there are adaptive strategies states can undertake to significantly reduce their vulnerability to its impacts.