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Drought and Moisture Surplus for the Conterminous United States, Annual Data 5-Year Windows (Image Service)

posted on 2024-06-05, 12:50 authored by U.S. Forest Service
Note: To download this raster dataset, go to ArcGIS Open Data Set and click the download button, and under additional resources select raster download option; the data can also be downloaded directly from the FSGeodata Clearinghouse. To summarize this dataset by U.S. Forest Service Lands, see the Drought Summary Tool. You can also explore cumulative drought and moisture changes from this StoryMap; additional drought products from the Office of Sustainability and Climate are available in our Climate Gallery and the OSC Drought page.

The Moisture Deficit and Surplus map uses moisture difference z-score datasets developed by scientists Frank Koch, John Coulston, and William Smith of the Forest Service Southern Research Station. A z-score is a statistical method for assessing how different a value is from the mean (average). Mean moisture values were derived from historical data on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration, from 1900 to 2022. The greater the z-value, the larger the departure from average conditions, indicating larger moisture deficits or surpluses. Thus, the dark red areas on this map indicate a five-year period with extremely dry conditions, relative to the average conditions over the past century. For further reading on the methodology used to build these maps, see the publication here:

This record was taken from the USDA Enterprise Data Inventory that feeds into the catalog. Data for this record includes the following resources:
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Data contact name


Data contact email


U.S. Forest Service


  • Geospatial

Geographic Coverage


ISO Topic Category

  • environment

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

Forestry, Wildland Management

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:96 - Forest Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:059 - Management Activities

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

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