Your Animated Guide to the 2012 Drought's Vegetation Devastation [video]

The United States is in the middle of the worst drought since the 50s, and plant life is feeling the burn. As such, the New York Times points us to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's new animation, which demonstrates how drastically this truly nasty drought is impacting vegetation nationwide.

NOAA explains:

The United States is experiencing one of the worst droughts since the 1950’s. Hot temperatures and low precipitation have created a visible impact across the nation: stressed and dying vegetation. NOAA’s satellites are used to measure the impact of drought on vegetation, and in many ways, the ability to measure the impact on vegetation provides a more readily understandable way to measure drought.

This animation shows monthly composites of vegetation health index derived from data from the AVHRR sensor on-board the NOAA POES satellite. Areas colored in shades of orange are experiencing moderate through exceptional drought conditions and are consistent with areas of vegetation stress.

In other words, the darker the color, the more dead or dying plants in a given region. Watching those orange clots expand and proliferate across the map, you can't help but consider how remarkably widespread the devastation is—and it's not just bad news from a conservationist perspective. It means food prices are likely going to go up alongside the temps, and fast.

Related Content on