Many Texas ranchers are selling off large parts of their herds as the grass dries out and water becomes scarce.
The drought map created by University College London shows a number of worryingly dry areas around the globe, in places including East Africa, Canada, France and Britain.
But the largest area of catastrophic drought centers on Texas. It is an angry red swath on the map, signifying what has been the driest year in the state’s history. It has brought immense hardship to farmers and ranchers, and fed incessant wildfires, as well as an enormous dust storm that blew through the western Texas city of Lubbock in the past month.
“It’s horrible,” says Don Casey, a rancher in central Texas who sold off half his cattle after getting only about two inches of rain over a one-year stretch and may sell more. “Even if it starts raining, it’s going to take so long for the land to recover.”