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Extended period when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply

Drought is characterized by a lack of precipitation—such as rain, snow, or sleet—for a protracted period of time, resulting in a water shortage. While droughts occur naturally, human activity, such as water use and management, can exacerbate dry conditions. What is considered a drought varies from region to region and is based largely on an area’s specific weather patterns. Whereas the threshold for drought may be achieved after just six rainless days on the tropical island of Bali, annual rainfall would need to fall below seven inches in the Libyan desert to warrant a similar declaration.

Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including drought. More than 80 percent of drought-induced economic damage and loss suffered by developing nations from 2005 to 2015 was related to livestock, crops, and fisheries. The economic toll of some $29 billion tells only part of the story. Drought in developing nations is notorious for creating water and food insecurity and exacerbating preexisting problems such as famine and civil unrest. It can also contribute to mass migration, resulting in the displacement of entire populations.

An estimated 55 million people globally are affected by droughts every year, and they are the most

serious hazard to livestock and crops in nearly every part of the world. Drought threatens people’s

livelihoods, increases the risk of disease and death, and fuels mass migration. Water scarcity

impacts 40% of the world’s population, and as many as 700 million people are at-risk of being

displaced as a result of drought by 2030.

Rising temperatures caused by climate change are making already dry regions drier and wet

regions wetter. In dry regions, this means that when temperatures rise, water evaporates more

quickly, and thus increases the risk of drought or prolongs periods of drought. Between 80-90% of

all documented disasters from natural hazards during the past 10 years have resulted from floods,

droughts, tropical cyclones, heat waves and severe storms.

Types of Drought:

Meteorological Drought.

Agricultural Drought.

Hydrological Drought.

Socioeconomic Drought.

Ecological Drought.


Further Resources



Michael Hirtzer
July 23, 2021
Drought is withering crops on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, prompting farmers to take the rare measure of baling up their wheat and barley stems to sell as hay.
Science X staff
July 22, 2021
Drought can have a lasting impact on the community of microbes that live in and around roots of rice plants, a team led by UC Davis researchers has found. Root-associated microbes help plants take up nutrients from the soil, so the finding could help in understanding how rice responds to dry spells and how it can be made more resilient to drought. The work is published July 22 in Nature Plants.
Science X staff
June 24, 2021
Drought--even in a single year--can leave aspen more vulnerable to insect infestation and other stressors decades later, a new study by NAU researchers found. Aspen trees that were not resilient to drought stayed smaller than others, growing more slowly and succumbing to an outbreak of insects known as aspen leaf miners that have plagued interior Alaska for more than two decades.
Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
June 17, 2021
the Guardian
Countries urged to take urgent action on managing water and land and tackling the climate emergency
Gabrielle Canon in San Francisco
June 7, 2021
the Guardian
The state is facing another drought just two years after the last one ended. Here's what you need to know
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