HeatDrought_II_Notes

HeatDrought_II_Notes - 1 2 The dust bowl years actually consisted of at least 4 distinct drought events 1 1930-1031 2 1934 3 1936 4 1939-1940

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The dust bowl years actually consisted of at least 4 distinct drought events: 1. 1930-1031 2. 1934 3. 1936 4. 1939-1940 Because these droughts occurred so close together, farmers were not able to recover from the preceding droughts before a new one started . These droughts affected a vast portion of the United States engulfing basically the entire Great Plains. It is important to note that due to the prolonged drought conditions, dust storms were a regular occurrence and not restricted to the above mentioned drought periods. A good regular occurrence and not restricted to the above mentioned drought periods. A good example is the Black Sunday of April 14, 1935. “The dust storm that turned day into night. Many believed the world was coming to an end. 3
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Retrospective models of drought conditions during the Dust Bowl years indicate that vast stretches of the U.S. were in stages of severe and extreme drought. 4
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With literally their basis of income eroding in front of their eyes, farmers and farm workers abandoned their plots and communities with the majority of people migrating to California. “In 1937, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) reported that drought was the principal reason for economic relief assistance in the Great Plains region during the 1930s (Link et al., 1937). Federal aid to the drought-affected states was first given in 1932, but the first funds marked specifically for drought relief were not released until the fall of 1933. In all, assistance may have reached $1 billion (in 1930s dollars) by the end of the drought (Warrick et al., 1980). According to the WPA, three-fifths of all first-time rural relief cases in the Great Plains area were directly related to drought, with a disproportionate amount of cases being farmers (68%) and especially tenant farmers (70% of the 68%). However, it is not known how many of the remaining cases (32%) were indirectly affected by drought. The WPA report also noted that 21% of all rural families in the Great Plains area were receiving federal emergency relief by 1936 (Link et al., 1937); the number was as high as 90% in hard-hit counties (Warrick, 1980). Thus, even though the exact economic losses are not known for this time period, they were substantial enough to cause widespread economic disruption that affected the entire nation.” Source: http://drought.unl.edu/whatis/dustbowl.htm 5
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The lessons learned from this event resulted in the development of measures to reduce the vulnerability to droughts. Conservation practices along with irrigation increased as did farm size and crop diversity. A novelty was the establishment of federal crop insurance and additional federal aid programs. The irrigation infrastructure was significantly improved by building new or enlarging existing reservoirs and upgrading domestic water systems. Poor land management techniques (land use patterns, cultivation techniques, and
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2010 for the course DSM 2000 taught by Professor Romolo during the Spring '08 term at LSU.

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HeatDrought_II_Notes - 1 2 The dust bowl years actually consisted of at least 4 distinct drought events 1 1930-1031 2 1934 3 1936 4 1939-1940

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