November 2012 Conditions
The map above shows recent conditions across the Colorado River Basin based on the MBDI calculation. The pie chart below illustrates the approximate proportion of the Colorado River Basin in the various categories of drought as depicted on the map. For more data and illustrations, click-on the "maps and graphics" icon above or the text link below the green bar.
Drought takes a bigger economic toll in the United States than other natural disasters, with losses averaging billions of dollars a year. One way to detect signs of drought before they fully register on the landscape is to monitor climatic conditions carefully.
The Moisture Balance Drought Index (MBDI) provides a way for anyone in the Colorado River Basin with access to the internet to do such monitoring for their own area or region of interest or management – even down to a grid cell of about 2.5 miles on a side.
The MBDI considers evaporation as well as precipitation rates when assessing how a region has fared. The index also can consider drought at a variety of time frames, from one month to four years.