Southern Wisconsin suffered through a drought during the 2012 growing season that rivaled that of 1988. Affected areas were at the northern fringe of a devastating drought that engulfed over half of the contiguous United States. The 2012 drought joins about 15 previous ones, some of them multi-year, that Wisconsin has endured since 1900. For the practicing agronomist it will be one of two or three profound droughts of a career. As with most droughts it was associated with warmer-than-average summer temperatures. Of the ten driest summers (June, July, and August – JJA) since 1895 in Southcentral Wisconsin, 2012 was the hottest, followed by 1988. In this same region 2012 JJA was essentially tied with 1948 as the driest since 1895 (at 6.2”) (Figure 1).
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison