Effects of drought on climates in Texas



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Drought is a growing global concern with severe ramifications for humanity. Texas is one of many places that faces recurring severe droughts, threatening the livelihood of its people. Within the bounds of Texas there are many different climates, and drought can effect these climates differently. The south east edge of the state tend to have a more humid temperate climate, whereas to the north west it becomes hot and arid. Within one state, the climate goes from subtropical to desert. This opens up the state to a lot of variability as to water supply. This Master's Report investigates the effects that drought has on the varied climates within Texas. Five areas in Texas were chosen to represent the most distinctive climatic shifts. Several hydrologic variables area accessed between regions and drought severity. The hydrologic variables examined are the 2-m above ground temperature, evapotranspiration, latent heat flux, sensible heat flux, net longwave radiation flux, net shortwave radiation flux, total hourly precipitation, and surface runoff. The scope of the analysis is limited to period of January 2000 to January 2013. Two one month periods were selected to highlight changes under dry conditions compared to normal to wet conditions; July 2007 and July 2011, respectively. In all of the areas examined, the earth was shown to be parched and dry after periods of less than average precipitation and more willing to take in water than leave it to be surface runoff. An initial investigation into the climates of the five areas showed that the temperatures in the more southeastern regions were more dramatically affected by the occurrence of drought. When drought came along to these southeastern regions, it transformed the climate into something more similar to that typically found in the northwestern regions. The more humid areas to the south east were consistently more dramatically affected by the drought than the arid regions to the north west. The more arid climates started out more similar to that of a drought ridden zone, leaving less room to change. However, all of the areas are significantly impacted by drought through a declining water supply.