Evolution of drought states in the US over the last 500 years

Image: USA Today

Persistent droughts and wet spells are a recurrent phenomena that occur over large spatial scales and have impacts on both natural ecosystems and developed regions.

In this study, drought and wet spell characteristics are examined at a continental scale over the past 500 years using a tree-ring based reconstruction of drought across the conterminous United States.

A Hidden Markov Model is used as a method of classifying climate states and assessing the evolution of droughts through time.

The understanding of how both extremes evolve over time and across space is needed to inform regional planning and decision making and has applications for assessing drought and wet spell risks in other areas of the world.

Michelle Ho has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in civil structural/civil environmental engineering. She has since developed her research interests in understanding how past climate variability and changes in water availability and use can be used to inform future water resource planning and management.

She joined CSIRO's Water Resources Assessment and Prediction group in early 2018 after working as a post doc and research scientist at the Columbia Water Center, Columbia University.

Date & time

10am–11pm 15 May 2018


Acacia Meeting Rm, Synergy, Black Mountain, Clunies Ross St, Canberra


Dr Michelle Ho, CSIRO


 Yun Chen

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