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drought
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{{pp-semi-vandalism}}File:Drought.jpg|thumb|upright|Contraction/Desiccation cracks in dry earth (Sonoran desert, MexicoMexicoA drought or drouth is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation), surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days.It's a scorcher - and Ireland is officially 'in drought' Irish Independent, 2013-07-18. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected regionLiving With Drought {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20070218192510weblink |date=2007-02-18 }} and harm to the local economy.Australian Drought and Climate Change {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180726021950weblink |date=2018-07-26 }}, retrieved on June 7th 2007. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent bush fires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour.Drought is a recurring feature of the climate in most parts of the world. Many plant species, such as those in the family Cactaceae (or cacti), have drought tolerance adaptations like reduced leaf area and waxy cuticles to enhance their ability to tolerate drought. Some others survive dry periods as buried seeds. Semi-permanent drought produces arid biomes such as deserts and grasslands.{{citation|last=Keddy|first=P.A.|date=2007|title=Plants and Vegetation: Origins, Processes, Consequences|publisher=Cambridge University Press|location=Cambridge, UK.|isbn=978-0521864800}} Prolonged droughts have caused mass migrations and humanitarian crisis. Most arid ecosystems have inherently low productivity. The most prolonged drought ever in the world in recorded history occurred in the Atacama Desert in Chile (400 Years).WEB,weblink Driest Place: Atacama Desert, Chile, Extreme Science, September 25, 2016, .Drought affect food production and human society, so they are considered a disaster, of natural, supernatural or human cause (which itself could be supernatural causes, malediction, sin, ...). It is among the earliest documented climatic events, present in the Epic of Gilgamesh and tied to the Biblical story of Joseph's arrival in and the later Exodus from Ancient Egypt.WEB,weblink BBC - Weather Centre - Features - History and Religion - Weather in the Bible - Drought and Famine, 5 November 2017, Hunter-gatherer migrations in 9,500 BC Chile have been linked to the phenomenon,WEB,weblink Ancient Chile Migration Mystery Tied to Drought, nationalgeographic.com, as has the exodus of early humans out of Africa and into the rest of the world around 135,000 years ago.Drought pushed ancient African immigration {{dead link|date=December 2016 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}. Rituals exist to prevent or avert drought, rainmaking could go from dances to scapegoating to human sacrifices. Nowadays, those ancient practices are for the most part relegated to folklore and replaced by more rational water management.

Types of drought

People tend to define droughts in three main ways:WEB,weblink Qianfeng Wang, ResearchGate,
  1. Meteorological drought occurs when there is a prolonged time with less than average precipitation.JOURNAL, Swain, etal, S, Application of SPI, EDI and PNPI using MSWEP precipitation data over Marathwada, India, IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS, 2017, 5505–5507, 10.1109/IGARSS.2017.8128250, 2017, 978-1-5090-4951-6, Meteorological drought usually precedes the other kinds of drought.WEB,weblink What is a Drought?, August 2006, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2007-04-10,
  2. Agricultural droughts affect crop production or the ecology of the range. This condition can also arise independently from any change in precipitation levels when either increased irrigation or soil conditions and erosion triggered by poorly planned agricultural endeavors cause a shortfall in water available to the crops. However, in a traditional drought, it is caused by an extended period of below average precipitation.
The alleviating trend of drought in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain of China based on the daily SPEI. InternationalJournal of Climatology.2015. {{doi|10.1002/joc.4244}} Wang, Qianfeng, Shi, Peijun, Lei, Tianjie, Geng, Guangpo, Liu, Jinghui, Mo, Xinyu, Li, Xiaohan, Zhou, Hongkui. and Wu, Jianjun
  1. Hydrological drought is brought about when the water reserves available in sources such as aquifers, lakes and reservoirs fall below a locally significant threshold. Hydrological drought tends to show up more slowly because it involves stored water that is used but not replenished. Like an agricultural drought, this can be triggered by more than just a loss of rainfall. For instance, around 2007 Kazakhstan was awarded a large amount of money by the World Bank to restore water that had been diverted to other nations from the Aral Sea under Soviet rule.NEWS,weblink BBC NEWS - Asia-Pacific - Dam project aims to save Aral Sea, bbc.co.uk, 2007-04-09, Similar circumstances also place their largest lake, Balkhash, at risk of completely drying out.NEWS,weblink BBC NEWS - Asia-Pacific - Kazakh lake 'could dry up', bbc.co.uk, 2004-01-15,
As a drought persists, the conditions surrounding it gradually worsen and its impact on the local population gradually increases.

Causes of drought

Precipitation deficiency

{{See also|Precipitation}}Mechanisms of producing precipitation include convective, stratiform,JOURNAL, A convective/stratiform precipitation classification algorithm for volume scanning weather radar observations, Emmanouil N. Anagnostou, Meteorological Applications, 2004, 11, 291–300, 10.1017/S1350482704001409, 4, 2004MeApp..11..291A, and orographic rainfall.JOURNAL, A model of annual orographic precipitation and acid deposition and its application to Snowdonia, A.J. Dore, M. Mousavi-Baygi, R.I. Smith, J. Hall, D. Fowler, T.W. Choularton, Atmospheric Environment, 40, June 2006, 3316–3326, 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.01.043, 18, 2006AtmEn..40.3316D, Convective processes involve strong vertical motions that can cause the overturning of the atmosphere in that location within an hour and cause heavy precipitation,BOOK, Robert Penrose Pearce, 2002,weblink Meteorology at the Millennium, Academic Press, 66, 978-0-12-548035-2, 2009-01-02, while stratiform processes involve weaker upward motions and less intense precipitation over a longer duration.BOOK, Cloud dynamics, Houze, Robert A., Jr., 1993, Academic Press, 9780080502106, San Diego, 427392836, Precipitation can be divided into three categories, based on whether it falls as liquid water, liquid water that freezes on contact with the surface, or ice. Droughts occur mainly in areas where normal levels of rainfall are, in themselves, low. If these factors do not support precipitation volumes sufficiently to reach the surface over a sufficient time, the result is a drought. Drought can be triggered by a high level of reflected sunlight and above average prevalence of high pressure systems, winds carrying continental, rather than oceanic air masses, and ridges of high pressure areas aloft can prevent or restrict the developing of thunderstorm activity or rainfall over one certain region. Once a region is within drought, feedback mechanisms such as local arid air,BOOK,weblink 22, Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level and Drought, Roland Paepe, Rhodes Whitmore Fairbridge, Saskia Jelgersma, 1990, Springer Science & Business Media, 978-0792310174, hot conditions which can promote warm core ridging,BOOK,weblink 48–49, The Oryx Resource Guide to El Niño and La Niña, Joseph S. D'Aleo, Pamela G. Grube, 2002, Greenwood Publishing Group, 978-1573563789, and minimal evapotranspiration can worsen drought conditions.File:Barack Obama speaks with farmers about California drought, 2014.jpg|thumb|President Barack Obama discussing the drought in California with farmers, 2014]]

Dry season

{{See also|Dry season}}Within the tropics, distinct, wet and dry seasons emerge due to the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone or Monsoon trough.BOOK, Bin Wang,weblink The Asian Monsoon, 2006-01-13, Springer Science & Business Media, 978-3540406105, 206, The dry season greatly increases drought occurrence,BOOK,weblink 349, Monitoring and Predicting Agricultural Drought : A Global Study: A Global Study, Vijendra K. Boken, Arthur P. Cracknell, Ronald L. Heathcote, 2005-03-24, 978-0198036784, Oxford University Press, and is characterized by its low humidity, with watering holes and rivers drying up. Because of the lack of these watering holes, many grazing animals are forced to migrate due to the lack of water in search of more fertile lands. Examples of such animals are zebras, elephants,NEWS,weblink It's dry season and elephants are desperately seeking water - but poachers lie in wait, TONY RENNELL, Daily Mail, London, June 29, 2007, and wildebeest. Because of the lack of water in the plants, bushfires are common.WEB,weblink Wet & Dry Seasons, 2018-12-23,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120320141721weblink">weblink 2012-03-20, dead, Since water vapor becomes more energetic with increasing temperature, more water vapor is required to increase relative humidity values to 100% at higher temperatures (or to get the temperature to fall to the dew point).WEB,weblink Bad Meteorology: The reason clouds form when air cools is because cold air cannot hold as much water vapor as warm air, Alistair B. Fraser, 1994-11-27, 2015-02-17,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150316122724weblink">weblink 2015-03-16, dead, Periods of warmth quicken the pace of fruit and vegetable production,BOOK,weblink 19, Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Kentucky, January 2014, 2015-02-18, increase evaporation and transpiration from plants,WEB, North Carolina State University, Evapotranspiration,weblink 2013-08-09, 2015-02-18,weblink 2015-02-19, dead, North Carolina State University, and worsen drought conditions.WEB,weblink 2002-05-16, 2015-02-18, Warm Temperatures and Severe Drought Continued in April Throughout Parts of the United States; Global Temperature For April Second Warmest on Record, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,

El Niño

File:El Nino regional impacts.png|thumb|Regional impacts of warm ENSO episodes (El NiñoEl Niño{{See also|El Niño}}Drier and hotter weather occurs in parts of the Amazon River Basin, Colombia, and Central America during El Niño events. Winters during the El Niño are warmer and drier than average conditions in the Northwest, northern Midwest, and northern Mideast United States, so those regions experience reduced snowfalls. Conditions are also drier than normal from December to February in south-central Africa, mainly in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Botswana. Direct effects of El Niño resulting in drier conditions occur in parts of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, increasing bush fires, worsening haze, and decreasing air quality dramatically. Drier-than-normal conditions are also in general observed in Queensland, inland Victoria, inland New South Wales, and eastern Tasmania from June to August. As warm water spreads from the west Pacific and the Indian Ocean to the east Pacific, it causes extensive drought in the western Pacific. Singapore experienced the driest February in 2014 since records began in 1869, with only 6.3 mm of rain falling in the month and temperatures hitting as high as 35 Â°C on 26 February. The years 1968 and 2005 had the next driest Februaries, when 8.4 mm of rain fell.WEB,weblink channelnewsasia.com - February 2010 is driest month for S'pore since records began in 1869, 3 March 2010, 5 November 2017, bot: unknown,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100303222328weblink">weblink 3 March 2010,

Erosion and human activities

{{See also|Aeolian processes}}Human activity can directly trigger exacerbating factors such as over farming, excessive irrigation,NEWS,weblink A biblical tragedy as Sea of Galilee faces drought, BelfastTelegraph.co.uk, deforestation, and erosion adversely impact the ability of the land to capture and hold water.WEB,weblink Kenya: Deforestation exacerbates droughts, floods, forests.org, 2008-05-24,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110927024422weblink">weblink 2011-09-27, dead, In arid climates, the main source of erosion is wind.WEB, Vern Hofman, Dave Franzen, 1997,weblink Emergency Tillage to Control Wind Erosion, North Dakota State University Extension Service, 2009-03-21, Erosion can be the result of material movement by the wind. The wind can cause small particles to be lifted and therefore moved to another region (deflation). Suspended particles within the wind may impact on solid objects causing erosion by abrasion (ecological succession). Wind erosion generally occurs in areas with little or no vegetation, often in areas where there is insufficient rainfall to support vegetation.WEB, United States Geological Survey, 2004,weblink Dunes â€“ Getting Started, 2009-03-21, United States Geological Survey,weblink 2012-06-22, dead, File:Fields outside benambra.jpg|thumb|right|Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, AustraliaAustraliaLoess is a homogeneous, typically nonstratified, porous, friable, slightly coherent, often calcareous, fine-grained, silty, pale yellow or buff, windblown (Aeolian) sediment.JOURNAL, F. von Richthofen, 1882, On the mode of origin of the loess, Geological Magazine (Decade II), 10.1017/S001675680017164X, 9, 7, 293–305, 1882GeoM....9..293R,weblink It generally occurs as a widespread blanket deposit that covers areas of hundreds of square kilometers and tens of meters thick. Loess often stands in either steep or vertical faces.BOOK, K.E.K. Neuendorf, J.P. Mehl, Jr., J.A. Jackson, 2005, Glossary of Geology, Springer-Verlag, New York, 779, 978-3-540-27951-8, Loess tends to develop into highly rich soils. Under appropriate climatic conditions, areas with loess are among the most agriculturally productive in the world.BOOK, Arthur Getis, Judith Getis and Jerome D. Fellmann, Introduction to Geography, Seventh Edition, 2000, McGraw-Hill, 978-0-697-38506-2, 99, Loess deposits are geologically unstable by nature, and will erode very readily. Therefore, windbreaks (such as big trees and bushes) are often planted by farmers to reduce the wind erosion of loess. Wind erosion is much more severe in arid areas and during times of drought. For example, in the Great Plains, it is estimated that soil loss due to wind erosion can be as much as 6100 times greater in drought years than in wet years.BOOK, Wiggs, Giles F.S., Geomorphological hazards in drylands, Thomas, David S.G., Arid Zone Geomorphology: Process, Form and Change in Drylands, John Wiley & Sons, 2011, 978-0-470-71076-0, 588,weblink The distribution of all the water on the earth’s surface is not even. Some places have lots of fresh water (rivers, lakes, lagoons, ponds etc.) and are continuously replenished by rainfall, runoffs and water from underground. Others places too are known to have very little water.Therefore, if a region that has lots of rainfall, goes for a couple of weeks without rains, and people, animals and plants begin to experience a bit of dryness, it can be called drought. At the same time, that condition may be very normal for places with no water, and can go for months without any rains with little problems.

Climatic changes

{{See also|Climate change}}Overall, global warming will result in increased world rainfall.WEB,weblink Is Water the New Oil?, Common Dreams, . Activities resulting in global climate change are expected to trigger droughts with a substantial impact on agricultureNOAA] Drought and climate change: implications for the West] {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20080625001539weblink |date=2008-06-25 }} December 2002JOURNAL,weblink Smith A.B. and R. Katz, 2013: U.S. Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters: Data sources, trends, accuracy and biases. Natural Hazards, 67, 387–410, doi:10.1007/s11069-013-0566-5, Natural Hazards, 67, 2, 387–410, 5 November 2017, 10.1007/s11069-013-0566-5, 2013, Smith, Adam B., Katz, Richard W., throughout the world, and especially in developing nations.WEB,weblink Finfacts: Irish business, finance news on economics, finfacts.com, Fuel costs, drought influence price increase {{webarchive |url=https://archive.today/20120913201531weblink |date=September 13, 2012 }}WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20051028012509weblink">weblink Nigerian Scholar Links Drought, Climate Change to Conflict in Africa - US Department of State, 28 October 2005, state.gov, Along with drought in some areas, flooding and erosion could increase in others. Some proposed solutions to global warming that focus on more active techniques, solar radiation management through the use of a space sunshade for one, may also carry with them increased chances of drought.Sunshade' for global warming could cause drought 2 August 2007 New Scientist, Catherine Brahic

Consequences of drought

File:Mongolian Gazelle dead of drought.jpg|thumb|right|A Mongolian gazelleMongolian gazelle One can divide the effects of droughts and water shortages into three groups: environmental, economic and social.
  • In the case of environmental effects: lower surface and subterranean water-levels, lower flow-levels (with a decrease below the minimum leading to direct danger for amphibian life), increased pollution of surface water, the drying out of wetlands, more and larger fires, higher deflation intensity, loss of biodiversity, worse health of trees and the appearance of pests and dendroid diseases.
  • Economic losses include lower agricultural, forests, game and fishing output, higher food-production costs, lower energy-production levels in hydro plants, losses caused by depleted water tourism and transport revenue, problems with water supply for the energy sector and for technological processes in metallurgy, mining, the chemical, paper, wood, foodstuff industries etc., disruption of water supplies for municipal economies.
  • Social costs include the negative effect on the health of people directly exposed to this phenomenon (excessive heat waves), possible limitation of water supplies, increased pollution levels, high food-costs, stress caused by failed harvests, etc. This explains why droughts and fresh water shortages operate as a factor which increases the gap between developed and developing countries.JOURNAL, Prokurat, Sergiusz, 2015, Drought and water shortages in Asia as a threat and economic problem,weblink Journal of Modern Science, 26, 3, 4 August 2016,
Effects vary according to vulnerability. For example, subsistence farmers are more likely to migrate during drought because they do not have alternative food-sources. Areas with populations that depend on water sources as a major food-source are more vulnerable to famine.Drought can also reduce water quality,Mosley LM (2014). Drought impacts on the water quality of freshwater systems; review and integration. Earth Science Reviews. {{DOI|10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.11.010}}.10. Mosley LM, Zammit B, Leyden E, Heneker TM, Hipsey MR, Skinner D, and Aldridge KT (2012). The Impact of Extreme Low Flows on the Water Quality of the Lower Murray River and Lakes (South Australia). Water Resources Management 26: 3923–3946. because lower water-flows reduce dilution of pollutants and increase contamination of remaining water-sources. Common consequences of drought include: WEB,weblink Toxins from freshwater algae found in San Francisco Bay shellfish, 5 November 2017,
High levels of microcystin appeared in San Francisco Bay Area salt-water shellfish and fresh-water supplies throughout the state of California in 2016.

Globally

File:Dust Bowl - Dallas, South Dakota 1936.jpg|thumb|A South Dakota farm during the Dust BowlDust Bowl

Examples

Well-known historical droughts include:
  • 1540 Central Europe, said to be the “worst drought of the millennium” with eleven months without rain and temperatures of five to seven °C above the average of the 20th centuryOliver Wetter et al: The year-long unprecedented European heat and drought of 1540 – a worst case. In: Climatic Change, June 2014, NEWS, Elf Monate ohne Regen: Die Angst vor der Megadürre des Jahres 1540 geht um, Neue Zürcher Zeitung,weblink 2018-08-06, Andreas Frey, 2018-08-04, de,
  • 1900 India killing between 250,000 and 3.25 million.
  • 1921–22 Soviet Union in which over 5 million perished from starvation due to drought
  • 1928–30 Northwest China resulting in over 3 million deaths by famine.
  • 1936 and 1941 Sichuan Province China resulting in 5 million and 2.5 million deaths respectively.
  • The 1997–2009 Millennium Drought in Australia led to a water supply crisis across much of the country. As a result, many desalination plants were built for the first time (see list).
  • In 2006, Sichuan Province China experienced its worst drought in modern times with nearly 8 million people and over 7 million cattle facing water shortages.
  • 12-year drought that was devastating southwest Western Australia, southeast South Australia, Victoria and northern Tasmania was "very severe and without historical precedent".
  • 2015–2018 Cape Town water crisis. This likelihood was tripled by climate changeNEWS, Climate change tripled likelihood of drought that pushed Cape Town water crisis to ‘Day Zero’ brink, say scientists,weblink 22 November 2018, Reliefweb, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, 16 July 2018,
File:Sahel Map-Africa rough.png|thumb|right|Affected areas in the western Sahel belt during the 2012 drought.]]The Darfur conflict in Sudan, also affecting Chad, was fueled by decades of drought; combination of drought, desertification and overpopulation are among the causes of the Darfur conflict, because the Arab Baggara nomads searching for water have to take their livestock further south, to land mainly occupied by non-Arab farming people.WEB,weblink Thomson Reuters Foundation, Thomson Reuters Foundation, alertnet.org, Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070819200515weblink">weblink People & the Planet > climate change > newsfile > big melt threatens millions, says un, 19 August 2007, peopleandplanet.net, India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. Drought in India affecting the Ganges is of particular concern, as it provides drinking water and agricultural irrigation for more than 500 million people.WEB,weblink Ganges, Indus may not survive: climatologists, rediff.com, WEB,weblink People's Daily Online - Glaciers melting at alarming speed, peopledaily.com.cn, NEWS,weblink BBC NEWS - Science/Nature - Himalaya glaciers melt unnoticed, bbc.co.uk, 2004-11-10, The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected.WEB,weblink Glaciers Are Melting Faster Than Expected, UN Reports, ScienceDaily, Water shortage worst in decades, official says, Los Angeles TimesFile:Drought affected area in Karnataka, India, 2012.jpg|thumb|Drought affected area in Karnataka, IndiaIndiaIn 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in 100 years.WEB,weblink Amazon Drought Worst in 100 Years, staff, www.ens-newswire.com, 5 November 2017, Drought Threatens Amazon Basin - Extreme conditions felt for second year running {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20130527104721weblink |date=May 27, 2013 }} A 23 July 2006 article reported Woods Hole Research Center results showing that the forest in its present form could survive only three years of drought.Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert' , The Independent, July 23, 2006. Retrieved September 28, 2006.Dying Forest: One year to save the Amazon, The Independent, July 23, 2006. Retrieved September 28, 2006. Scientists at the Brazilian National Institute of Amazonian Research argue in the article that this drought response, coupled with the effects of deforestation on regional climate, are pushing the rainforest towards a "tipping point" where it would irreversibly start to die. It concludes that the rainforest is on the brink of being turned into savanna or desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate. According to the WWF, the combination of climate change and deforestation increases the drying effect of dead trees that fuels forest fires.weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080518192545weblink">Climate change a threat to Amazon rainforest, warns WWF, World Wide Fund for Nature, March 9, 2996. Retrieved September 28, 2006.File:ShrinkingLakeChad-1973-1997-EO.jpg|thumb|right|(Lake Chad]] in a 2001 satellite image. The lake has shrunk by 95% since the 1960s.WEB,weblink Plan B Updates - 47: Disappearing Lakes, Shrinking Seas - EPI, earth-policy.org, WEB,weblink Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources, nationalgeographic.com, )By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. A 2005 study by Australian and American researchers investigated the desertification of the interior, and suggested that one explanation was related to human settlers who arrived about 50,000 years ago. Regular burning by these settlers could have prevented monsoons from reaching interior Australia.Sensitivity of the Australian Monsoon to insolation and vegetation: Implications for human impact on continental moisture balance {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20100615232508weblink |date=2010-06-15 }}, Geological Society of America In June 2008 it became known that an expert panel had warned of long term, maybe irreversible, severe ecological damage for the whole Murray-Darling basin if it did not receive sufficient water by October 2008.Australian rivers 'face disaster', BBC News Australia could experience more severe droughts and they could become more frequent in the future, a government-commissioned report said on July 6, 2008.Australia faces worse, more frequent droughts: study, Reuters Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery, predicted that unless it made drastic changes, Perth in Western Australia could become the world's first ghost metropolis, an abandoned city with no more water to sustain its population.Metropolis strives to meet its thirst, BBC News The long Australian Millennial drought broke in 2010.Recurring droughts leading to desertification in East Africa have created grave ecological catastrophes, prompting food shortages in 1984–85, 2006 and 2011.Sara Pantuliano and Sara Pavanello (2004) Taking drought into account Addressing chronic vulnerability among pastoralists in the Horn of Africa {{webarchive |url=https://web.archive.org/web/20120307103951weblink |date=March 7, 2012 }} Overseas Development Institute During the 2011 drought, an estimated 50,000 to 150,000 people were reported to have died,"Fatal Failure: Did Aid Agencies Let Up To 100,000 Somalis Die in 2011?". Time. January 18, 2012. though these figures and the extent of the crisis are disputed.NEWS, Warah, Rasna, Manufacturing a famine: How Somalia crisis became a fund-raising opportunity,weblink 16 March 2013, The East African, 2 October 2011, In February 2012, the UN announced that the crisis was over due to a scaling up of relief efforts and a bumper harvest.NEWS,weblink U.N. Says Somalia Famine Has Ended, but Crisis Isn't Over, Jeffrey, Gettleman, 3 February 2012, 5 November 2017, The New York Times, Aid agencies subsequently shifted their emphasis to recovery efforts, including digging irrigation canals and distributing plant seeds.In 2012, a severe drought struck the western Sahel. The Methodist Relief & Development Fund (MRDF) reported that more than 10 million people in the region were at risk of famine due to a month-long heat wave that was hovering over Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. A fund of about £20,000 was distributed to the drought-hit countries.WEB,weblink Methodists make appeal for famine threatened West Africa - Ekklesia, ekklesia.co.uk, 2010-07-06,

Protection, mitigation and relief

(File:Huntington Desert Garden Cactus (etc).jpg|thumb|right|Succulent plants are well-adapted to survive long periods of drought.)File:FEMA - 917 - Photograph by Angel Santiago taken on 04-03-1998 in Marshall Islands.jpg|thumb|upright|Water distribution on Marshall Islands during El Niño.]]Agriculturally, people can effectively mitigate much of the impact of drought through irrigation and crop rotation. Failure to develop adequate drought mitigation strategies carries a grave human cost in the modern era, exacerbated by ever-increasing population densities. President Roosevelt on April 27, 1935, signed documents creating the Soil Conservation Service (SCS)—now the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Models of the law were sent to each state where they were enacted. These were the first enduring practical programs to curtail future susceptibility to drought, creating agencies that first began to stress soil conservation measures to protect farm lands today. It was not until the 1950s that there was an importance placed on water conservation was put into the existing laws (NRCS 2014).WEB,weblink State Conservation District Laws Development and Variations – NRCS, usda.gov, File:September Smoke Over the Amazon from 2005-2008.png|thumb|Aerosols over the Amazon each September for four burning seasons (2005 through 2008) during the Amazon basinAmazon basinStrategies for drought protection, mitigation or relief include:
  • Dams – many dams and their associated reservoirs supply additional water in times of drought.NEWS, Fresno Bee,weblink Should California build dams, reservoirs to help with future droughts?, 2014-06-01, 2015-02-18, Matt Weiser, Jeremy B. White, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150320040153weblink">weblink 2015-03-20,
  • Cloud seeding – a form of intentional weather modification to induce rainfall.WEB,weblink Cloud seeding helps alleviate drought, chinadaily.com.cn, This remains a hotly debated topic, as the United States National Research Council released a report in 2004 stating that to date, there is still no convincing scientific proof of the efficacy of intentional weather modification.BOOK, NRC, Critical Issues in Weather Modification Research, 10.17226/10829, 2003, 978-0-309-09053-7,
  • Desalination – use of sea water for irrigation or consumption.WEB,weblink City of Santa Barbara, Desalinization, 2014-12-22, 2015-02-18,
  • Drought monitoring – Continuous observation of rainfall levels and comparisons with current usage levels can help prevent man-made drought. For instance, analysis of water usage in Yemen has revealed that their water table (underground water level) is put at grave risk by over-use to fertilize their Khat crop.BBC's From Our Own Correspondent on khat water usage Careful monitoring of moisture levels can also help predict increased risk for wildfires, using such metrics as the Keetch-Byram Drought Index or Palmer Drought Index.
  • Land use – Carefully planned crop rotation can help to minimize erosion and allow farmers to plant less water-dependent crops in drier years.
  • Outdoor water-use restriction – Regulating the use of sprinklers, hoses or buckets on outdoor plants, filling pools, and other water-intensive home maintenance tasks. Xeriscaping yards can significantly reduce unnecessary water use by residents of towns and cities.
  • Rainwater harvesting – Collection and storage of rainwater from roofs or other suitable catchments.
  • Recycled water – Former wastewater (sewage) that has been treated and purified for reuse.
  • Transvasement – Building canals or redirecting rivers as massive attempts at irrigation in drought-prone areas.

See also

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References

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Further reading

  • Christopher de Bellaigue, "The River" (the Ganges; review of Sunil Amrith, Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History; Sudipta Sen, Ganges: The Many Pasts of an Indian River; and Victor Mallet, River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and India's Future), The New York Review of Books, vol. LXVI, no. 15 (10 October 2019), pp.34–36. "[I]n 1951 the average Indian [inhabitant of India] had access annually to 5,200 cubic meters of water. The figure today is 1,400... and will probably fall below 1,000 cubic meters – the UN's definition of 'water scarcity' – at some point in the next few decades. Compounding the problem of lower summer rainfall... India's water table is in freefall [due] to an increase in the number of tube wells... Other contributors to India's seasonal dearth of water are canal leaks [and] the continued sowing of thirsty crops..." (p. 35.)

External links

{{Commons category-inline|Drought}}{{wiktionary-inline|Drought}} {{Global warming}}{{Natural disasters}}{{Authority control}}

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