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Below-average precipitation affects the amount of moisture in soil as well as the amount of water in streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater.

Earth Science, Climatology, Conservation, Anthropology

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A drought is a period of time when an area or region experiences below-normal precipitation . The lack of adequate precipitation , either rain or snow, can cause reduced soil moisture or groundwater , diminished stream flow, crop damage, and a general water shortage. Droughts are the second-most costly weather events after hurricanes.

Unlike with sudden weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms, it is often difficult to pinpoint when a drought has started or when it has ended. The initial effects of a drought may be difficult to identify right away, so it may take weeks or months to determine that a drought has started. The end of a drought is hard to identify for the same reason. A drought may last for weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes, drought conditions can exist for a decade or more in a region. The longer a drought lasts, the greater the harmful effects it has on people.

Droughts affect people in a several ways. Access to clean drinking water is essential for all life, and sources of water may dwindle during a drought . Without the presence of water, people must bring in enough water from elsewhere to survive. Water is also needed for crops to grow. When not enough precipitation falls to naturally water crops , they must be watered by irrigation . Irrigation is possible only when there is enough water in nearby rivers, lakes, or streams, or from groundwater . During a drought , these water sources are diminished and may even dry up, preventing crops from being irrigated and causing them to die off.

One person studying these problems is Alexandra Cousteau, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer whose latest initiative is Blue Legacy. She started Blue Legacy to raise awareness that we live on a water planet and must take care of it. Cousteau, the granddaughter of the famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, believes that water will be a crucial issue in this century. She predicts that water problems such as drought , storms, floods, and degraded water quality will create “water refugees :” people migrating in search of water. Cousteau stresses that we must do all we can to protect Earth’s valuable freshwater resources.

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Essay on Drought for Students and Children

500+ words essay on drought.

Drought is a dangerous condition which decreases the quality of life. It is termed as a natural disaster with harmful effects. A drought usually occurs when a region faces a shortage of water. This is mainly due to lesser rainfalls. In addition, droughts have proven to be fatal for mankind and wildlife as well.

Essay on Drought

Moreover, drought is the most dangerous for a farmer. As they do not have an ample supply of water, their crops dry out. This becomes a reason for worry as it is their sole income. Furthermore, drought also leads to various other problems for the environment and mankind.

Causes of Drought

Drought is caused due to various reasons. One of the main reasons is deforestation . When there will be no trees, the water on land will evaporate at a faster rate. Similarly, it lessens the soil capacity to hold water resulting in evaporation. Moreover, lesser trees also mean lesser rainfall which eventually leads to drought.

Furthermore, as the climate is changing, the water bodies are drying up. This results in a lower flow of surface water. Therefore, when the rivers and lakes will dry out, how will the people get water? In addition, global warming is a major cause of this. The greenhouse gas emitted causes the earth’s temperature to rise. Thus, it results in higher evaporation rates.

Subsequently, excessive irrigation is also a great cause of droughts. When we use water irresponsibly, the surface water dries up. As it does not get ample time to replenish, it causes drought.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Impact of Drought

Drought is a serious disaster which impacts the whole of mankind, wildlife, and vegetation greatly. Moreover, a region which experiences drought requires a lot of time to recover from the disaster. It is a severe condition which interferes with the quality and functioning of life.

Most importantly, the agriculture sector suffers the most at the hands of drought. For instance, farmers face a loss of crop production, livestock production. Moreover, they experience plant disease and wind erosion. Similarly, they also have to face heavy financial losses. Their financial condition worsens and they end up in debt. This also leads to higher rates of depression and suicides.

geography essay on drought

Furthermore, wildlife also suffers. They do not get sources of water to drink from. In addition, when forest fires happen due to droughts, they also lose their habitats and life. Just like any natural disaster , droughts also result in inflation of prices. The basic products become expensive. The poor people do not get access to essential foods due to high rates. Subsequently, droughts also degrade the quality of the soil. This result in poor or no yielding of crops.

In short, drought is definitely one of the most catastrophic natural disasters. It causes loss of life, vegetation and gives rise to other deadly problems like famine. The citizens and government must join hands to prevent droughts to save thousands of lives. This joint effort can help save the world from such a catastrophe.

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Internet Geography

What are the causes of drought?

Desertification

A drought is a severe shortage of water in a particular location. A combination of factors causes droughts.

Meteorological causes of drought

Meteorological factors can cause an area to get less rainfall than average. Changes in global atmospheric circulation can mean it doesn’t rain much in an area. For example, the drought in Australia in the 2000s was made worse by changing air and ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean.

Changes in atmospheric circulation can also affect rainfall patterns. In the past, monsoon rains in India had failed to appear when they were due.

High-pressure systems can block low-pressure systems that bring rainfall to the UK. This can lead to drought conditions.

Hydrological causes of drought

A lack of water in stores such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and aquifers (water stored underground naturally) can lead to drought. Areas that rely on rainfall and surface water are more likely to experience drought. Surface water quickly evaporates in warm, dry conditions leading to an increased risk of drought.

Hydrological causes of drought can take some time to have an impact. For example, water stores such as aquifers can take months or even years to replenish.

Human causes of drought

Deforestation leads to less water being stored in the soil. Therefore, the land dries out quicker than it would if it were covered in vegetation. Also, trees release moisture into the atmosphere through their leaves, a process is known as transpiration. Removing trees and vegetation reduces the amount of moisture in the atmosphere making the area drier.

Constructing dams and reservoirs reduces the flow of water downstream. This can lead to drought in other areas. There are several locations worldwide where this could lead to conflict in the future, including along the River Nile.

Intensive agriculture depletes water supplies as large quantities of water are required for irrigation . Additionally, livestock also has considerable demands on water for drinking.

Some locations are more vulnerable to drought than others

The map below shows the distribution of droughts around the world.

geography essay on drought

This map shows drought severity, measured as the product of the average length of a drought occurrence and how dry it was the drought. This visualization is based on data collected for the period between 1901 and 2008.

The areas experiencing the most severe droughts occur at around 30° north and south of the equator. This can be explained by global atmospheric circulation , as high pressure at this latitude brings very little rainfall.

Over time the locations affected by drought have varied. For example, there have been more droughts in Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean since 1950 and fewer in the Americas and Russia.

Some scientists have suggested that climate change might increase the frequency and severity of droughts in the future.

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In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Drought

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Drought by Woonsup Choi LAST REVIEWED: 25 September 2023 LAST MODIFIED: 25 September 2023 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0215

Drought is a natural disaster that has plagued human society throughout history. However, the meaning of drought varies by perspective and academic discipline, and the cause of drought is difficult to pinpoint. Despite the variation in its meaning, drought generally refers to the condition of an abnormally low amount of water for a given climate. Here the water can be precipitation, streamflow, soil moisture, groundwater, reservoir storage, and the like, but the lack of precipitation is a precursor for other types of drought. The lack of precipitation is often associated with anomalous atmospheric conditions such as atmospheric-circulation anomalies, higher-than-normal temperatures, and lower-than-normal relative humidity. Sea surface temperature anomalies may lead to sustained atmospheric-circulation anomalies. Drought defined as a lack of precipitation is often called meteorological or climatological drought. Other drought types can be classified within the context of the affected sectors, such as agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic drought. Agricultural drought generally refers to a lack of soil moisture, and hydrological drought refers to a lack of surface and subsurface water (e.g., streamflow and groundwater). Socioeconomic drought hampers human activities such as industry or water supply. As meteorological drought persists, other types of drought can follow. Such definitions of drought are regarded as conceptual definitions, but operational ones are also necessary for quantitative understanding and management of drought events. Operational definitions use quantitative indices to identify the occurrence and characteristics of drought events such as onset, duration, termination, deficit volume, and spatial extent of drought. Much of existing drought research concerns developing, revising, and applying drought indices to investigate spatial and temporal patterns of drought at various geographical scales. Drought research has progressed along several directions, such as causes and drivers of drought, characteristics of drought events, impacts, and mitigation. Each of these directions is represented by the works cited in this article.

One of the most important issues in drought research is how to conceptualize and define droughts. Cook 2019 , Wilhite and Glantz 1985 , and Mishra and Singh 2010 offer a review of drought concepts, definitions, classification, and indices, and Robeson 2008 reviews research topics in drought that are relevant to applied climatology. There are numerous quantitative indices of drought, and the PDSI (Palmer Drought Severity Index) developed in Palmer 1965 and the SPI (Standardized Precipitation Index) developed in McKee, et al. 1993 are widely used as operational definitions of meteorological drought. The authors of Byun and Wilhite 1999 developed the EDI (Effective Drought Index) while criticizing SPI. Yevyevich 1967 suggests a threshold-level approach to defining hydrological droughts. Van Loon 2015 offers a comprehensive review of hydrological drought, and Van Loon, et al. 2016 reframes the approach to drought with regard to human activities. Tallaksen and van Lanen 2004 collects chapters in various aspects of drought in streamflow and groundwater.

Byun, Hi-Ryong, and Donald A. Wilhite. “Objective Quantification of Drought Severity and Duration.” Journal of Climate 12.9 (1999): 2747–2756.

DOI: 10.1175/1520-0442(1999)012<2747:OQODSA>2.0.CO;2

Discusses major existing drought indices and proposes EDI, which diagnoses meteorological drought by using daily precipitation while giving more weight to recent precipitation than precipitation more distant in the past. An authoritative reference for EDI.

Cook, Benjamin I. Drought: An Interdisciplinary Perspective . New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.

DOI: 10.7312/cook17688

A comprehensive and concise volume that explains drought in various perspectives, including hydroclimatology, climate change, land management, and groundwater. One of the best introductions for those who pursue scientific understanding of drought and good as an undergraduate-level textbook.

McKee, Thomas B., Nolan J. Doesken, and John Kleist. “The Relationship of Drought Frequency and Duration to Time Scales.” Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Applied Climatology 7.22 (1993): 179–183.

Defines drought on the basis of standardized precipitation, which is the difference between precipitation for a particular period and the mean divided by the standard deviation. The mean and standard deviation are determined from historical data. The standardized precipitation is expressed as SPI for varying lengths; for example, one month (SPI-1), three months (SPI-3), twelve months (SPI-12), etc. A common reference for SPI.

Mishra, Ashok K., and Vijay P. Singh. “A Review of Drought Concepts.” Journal of Hydrology 391.1–2 (2010): 202–216.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.07.012

Reviews a wide range of issues related to drought, including need for drought research, drought definitions and classification, drought indices, and relationship between drought and large-scale climate indices. One of the best introductions for those who pursue scientific understanding of drought.

Palmer, Wayne C. Meteorological Drought . Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, 1965.

An authoritative reference for PDSI. Defines drought severity and duration, considering water balance components as well as precipitation. The PDSI numbers are classified by levels of dryness and wetness.

Robeson, Scott M. “Applied Climatology: Drought.” Progress in Physical Geography 32.3 (2008): 303–309.

DOI: 10.1177/0309133308091951

Reviews major research fields in drought from an applied-climatology perspective, focused on monitoring, climate change impacts, and modeling.

Tallaksen, Lena M., and Henny A. J. van Lanen, eds. Hydrological Drought: Processes and Estimation Methods for Streamflow and Groundwater . Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2004.

A collection of chapters addressing drought in streamflow and groundwater. Chapters about the science or management of drought are adequate for entry-level graduate students, but those about drought estimation methods are highly technical.

Van Loon, Anne F. “Hydrological Drought Explained.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water 2.4 (2015): 359–392.

DOI: 10.1002/wat2.1085

Provides a comprehensive review of hydrological drought, including typology and indices and discusses research gaps and challenges.

Van Loon, Anne F., Kerstin Stahl, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, et al. “Drought in a Human-Modified World: Reframing Drought Definitions, Understanding, and Analysis Approaches.” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 20.9 (2016): 3631–3650.

DOI: 10.5194/hess-20–3631–2016

Emphasizes the impact of humans on drought, particularly hydrological drought, and reframes the way that drought is defined and analyzed in the Anthropocene. Clarifies drought terminology and identifies research gaps in drivers, modifiers, impacts, feedbacks, and baselines of drought.

Wilhite, Donald A., and Michael H. Glantz. “Understanding the Drought Phenomenon: The Role of Definitions.” Water International 10.3 (1985): 111–120.

DOI: 10.1080/02508068508686328

Provides detailed discussion of drought definitions. Suggests subdividing the definitions into four types on the basis of disciplinary perspectives (meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic), and such a classification has been widely adopted in the literature, including the review in Mishra and Singh 2010 .

Yevyevich, Vujica M. “ An Objective Approach to Definitions and Investigations of Continental Hydrologic Droughts .” Hydrology Papers, Colorado State University 23 (1967).

Suggests an “objective” definition of hydrological droughts at continental or large-area scales. It is regarded as the first work that defined droughts by using runs of the sequence of a variable, where droughts are defined in terms of duration, deficit volume, and intensity. Most papers investigating hydrological droughts cite this paper.

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Droughts 101

Droughts can cause a variety of problems to local communities, including damage to ecosystems, crops, and a shortage of drinking water.

Biology, Health, Geography

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Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast

Delightful essay on life in the South African drought

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Cape Town, in South Africa, is currently experiencing a drought so bad that it is estimated to happen only once every 300 years (or to be more accurate, is experiencing a drought that has a chance of occurring in a given year of 1/300). This is worse than our D4 drought in Oklahoma and nearby parts of the US Southwest, which are roughly 1 in 100 year events. Huffington Post has a wonderful long essay bu Eve Fairbanks on life in Cape Town and how the drought has changed it in bad and good ways there. You can read it at “ Dry, the Beloved Country .”

geography essay on drought

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geography essay on drought

June 16, 2019

8 innovative drought solutions that we can count 0n

Drought Solutions

A drought happens when a region receives less than average rainfall. Unlike the simplicity of this definition, the actual scenario is devastating. 

Droughts don’t just affect the plants or livestock of a region, but they also pose a great threat to human lives. It is regarded as a natural disaster considering the damage it does to the entire ecosystem.

We have seen examples of how droughts can create great economic instabilities, owing to the lessened production of resources. In the past  40 years , no natural disaster has affected more people than droughts.

Climate change has been a major factor in the creation of droughts in several parts of the world. As the earth is heating up, many regions of the world are experiencing less precipitation and droughts are becoming more common than ever before.

However, we humans have the ability to think and use our skills to  engineer solutions , and in this article, we will go through some of these methods.

1. Desalination of water

Water Desalination

Even though more than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, only 0.003% of it is fresh water. In many places of the world, annual rainfall is the only way to replenish the freshwater sources. 

But what if we could desalinate water? Then we have oceans to help us get fresh water. 

But it is easier said than done. Desalination of water is pretty resource intensive. First, the water needs to be boiled, converted to steam and then condensed. 

This requires a significant amount of fossil fuels to produce heat. But hope is still at hand as the developments in the field has made  filters made up of graphene  that can desalinate water with nothing more than hydrostatic pressure.

2. Rainwater harvesting 

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting has seen major growth in recent years and this is something everyone should adopt. With rainwater harvesting, homes can store the water they get from rain and then use it when they need it in dry conditions. 

In urban areas, only 15% of rainwater enters the ground while in rural areas 50% of rainwater is absorbed into the ground. Rainwater harvesting provides both urban and rural areas with an efficient option to store rainwater and then reuse it in  times of drought . 

If a house has a primary water source, then rainwater harvesting provides them with an auxiliary option that they can use when water is not available. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to combat drought and is now encouraged among farmers and herders to provide their agriculture with water in times of drought.

3. Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation

Drip irrigation  hopes to achieve optimum water delivery for plants and optimum moisture in the soil. The advantage of such a system is that it does not result in water wastage.

Nowadays, many companies have come forward providing the market with cost-effective and intuitive drip irrigation systems. 

Technologically advanced farms are moving  towards IoT inspired drip irrigation  systems that can operate without human intervention. The highly targeted nature of drip irrigation ensures that each plant gets the right amount of water delivered right on its roots.

4. Harvesting water from the air

Harvesting water from air

Air as we know it contains many elements, and one among it is moisture. If we could build something efficient to harvest that moisture and condense it, we could harvest water from the air. 

And this is what  researchers from MIT have done ! 

This solar powered device uses a large surface area of the pores in Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) to catch water vapor and pass it between two temperatures zones to condense it. A field test conducted in Arizona was a success and now the team hopes to scale up the system so that it can produce many liters of water within a short period of time. 

The two major advantages of this system are that it can harvest water without the use of electricity and the ability to produce water in desert climates.

5. Crop engineering

Wheat crop

We can build new mechanisms outside of the plants to keep them watered and safe from drought, but we could also genetically engineer them to be resilient to conditions where the water content in the soil is very low. 

Food production is a crucial part of keeping the population alive. However, droughts can affect the productivity and tip the balance of food available to the masses. 

Crop engineering hopes to tweak the genetics of existing crops to help them increase their yield and provide them with better resistance to drought. 

A research project from Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) has successfully improved corps in the way they use water, up to  25% more efficiently . 

Researches have been done  by various organizations around the world in efforts to engineer crops that can withstand the harshness of droughts.

6. Solar pumps 

Solar pumps

The most common method that we use to water crops or provide water to livestock is by pumping it out of the earth. However, pumps do consume electricity, which in turn, consumes more fossil fuels. 

Solar pumps are gaining popularity because they do not use up electricity from the mains to pump water for irrigation. The governments around the world are realizing the potential of solar pumps and some have even started  granting subsidies for farmers  to install them cost-effectively.

7. Recycling organic waste

8. planting more trees .

Tree plantation

This is might sound like old-age advice, but planting tree is the best way to  reduce damage from drought , improve the quality of the environment and increase the success of precipitation. 

Many countries  have started their efforts by turning arid lands into forested by planting trees and saplings.

Drought is one of the most damaging natural disasters that we have faced in recent years. By bringing innovative ideas and solutions, we can reduce the effects of droughts as well as put measures in place to prevent the occurrence of this natural disaster altogether.

By: Kashyap Vyas || Interesting Engineering 

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Droughts: Notes for UPSC Geograpahy

Drought is a phenomenon that comes under geography in the strict sense of the word but has reverberations across various fields. This is because droughts affect the livelihood and economies and even lives of people affected by it. Hence, it assumes importance for the UPSC exam. In this article, we talk about droughts for the IAS exam .

Definition of Drought

The term ‘Drought’ in simple words is the absence of water for a long period of time, at a place where it is considered abnormal as compared to its usual conditions. The distribution of water on the earth’s surface is not even. Some places have lots of freshwater e.g. rivers, lakes, lagoons, ponds etc.  and they are continuously replenished by rainfall and water from underground.

If a region that has had 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 a drought. Drought can be defined as a relatively long time where there is not enough water than there usually is, as a result of dry weather, to support human, animal and plant life. Droughts become an issue only when it begins to affect water supply for irrigation, municipal, industrial, energy, and ecosystem function. Severe droughts can have serious consequences.

Recently, the government of England has formally declared parts of England. It was declared after a period of prolonged hot and dry weather. 

The declaration of drought serves as a recognition of the water scarcity situation and the need for proactive measures to manage water resources effectively.

Implications of the declaration: The declaration abrings various actions and regulations to address the water scarcity issue and ensure the sustainable use of available water resources.

  • Water Companies’ Drought Plans and Restrictions: Water companies are required to have a drought plan in place, outlining the restrictions they may implement on their customers during a drought. These plans serve as guidelines for managing water supplies efficiently and responsibly.
  • Drought Orders and Permits for Water Management: During a drought, water companies have the option to apply for drought orders and permits. This helps ensure a more sustainable water supply during times of scarcity.
  • Restrictions on Non-Essential Water Use: To conserve water during a drought, restrictions can be imposed on non-essential water use. This includes measures such as limiting water usage in commercial car washes and swimming pools. 
  • Restrictions for Farmers: Farmers may face restrictions on water usage for spray irrigation. These measures are intended to balance the water needs of agricultural activities with the overall water availability in drought-affected areas.
  • Government Intervention in Industrial and Food Processing Water Use: The government can impose restrictions on water use in industrial manufacturing or food processing sectors.
  • Conservation Measures in Dry Conditions: In drought conditions, Natural England, the government’s conservation advisory body, may restrict access to certain areas, such as national nature reserves, if there is a risk of fire caused by dry conditions. These measures aim to protect valuable natural habitats and prevent wildfires, which can be exacerbated during periods of prolonged hot and dry weather.

Types of Drought

There are three types of droughts known to the scientific community:

  • Meteorological drought occurs when there is a prolonged time with less than average precipitation. Such type of droughts 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.
  • 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 activities cause a shortfall in water available to the crops.
  • 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.
  • Socio-Economic Drought  refers to the abnormal water shortage that affects socio economic condition of a region. 

For more notes on UPSC Geography , visit the linked article

  • Drought-prone districts in India comprise nearly 1/6th of this country in terms of area. These areas receive an annual rainfall of around 60 cm or less.
  • These situations can be attributed to human malpractices such asI recent year drought conditions have become recurring due to reasons as climate change, overuse of water resource, pollution, urbanization, etc. 
  • Drought is declared by the respective State Governments taking into account rainfall situation, crop growth, etc.

Consequences of Drought

The effects of droughts can be divided into three groups: environmental, economic and social.

  • 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: Economic consequences 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 industries and 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), a possible limitation of water supplies, increased pollution levels, high food-costs, stress caused by failed harvests, etc. This explains why droughts and freshwater shortages operate as a factor which increases the gap between developed and developing countries.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Drought

What are the four types of drought.

As a result, the climatological community has defined four types of drought:

1) Meteorological drought 2) Hydrological drought 3) Agricultural drought 4) Socioeconomic drought.

Is a drought a natural disaster?

Droughts – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

To get more  topics to visit the UPSC Syllabus page   and for more of UPSC-related preparation materials visit the linked articles:

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The Impact of Drought in South Africa: Research Grade 11

  • May 12, 2023

Impact of Drought in South Africa

South Africa is a country that is susceptible to drought due to its semi-arid climate, which makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and change. Drought has significant impacts on the country’s social, economic, and environmental systems. This research task aims to equip Grade 11 learners with skills in research, analysis, interpretation, and communication. This paper will explore the possible subtopics and questions that learners can explore, the importance of the research memorandum, and how learners can prepare for their exams.

Causes of Drought

Drought is a natural disaster that occurs when there is a shortage of rainfall over an extended period. The first subtopic that learners can explore is the causes of drought . This section aims to provide an understanding of what drought is and the different types of drought. The research task should explain the physical and human causes of drought. Physical causes may include climate variability, while human causes may include deforestation, over-extraction of groundwater, and poor water management practices. Climate change is also a crucial factor that impacts drought, and learners can investigate how climate change exacerbates drought conditions.

To explore the causes of drought, learners can ask the following questions:

  • What is drought, and what are the different types of drought?
  • How does climate variability contribute to drought?
  • What are the human causes of drought, and how do they contribute to the occurrence of drought?
  • How does climate change impact drought conditions?

Impacts of Drought

Drought has significant impacts on society, the economy, and the environment. The second subtopic that learners can explore is the impacts of drought . This section should provide an understanding of the social, economic, and environmental impacts of drought. Learners can investigate how different regions and communities experience drought differently, as well as the short-term and long-term effects of drought. The research task should describe the loss of vegetation, soil erosion, and the depletion of water resources. Learners can also investigate how drought affects wildlife and biodiversity.

To explore the impacts of drought, learners can ask the following questions:

  • What are the social impacts of drought, and how do they affect communities?
  • How does drought affect the economy, and what are the economic impacts of drought?
  • How does drought affect the environment, and what are the environmental impacts of drought?
  • What are the short-term and long-term effects of drought on communities and ecosystems?

Management Strategies for Drought

Drought management strategies are crucial in mitigating the impacts of drought. The third subtopic that learners can explore is management strategies for drought. This section should provide an understanding of the different drought management strategies used in different regions. Learners can investigate the effectiveness of these strategies and the challenges and limitations of drought management. They can also explore the strategies used to mitigate the impacts of drought, including water conservation, drought-resistant crops, and alternative water sources. The research task can also discuss how communities can adapt to drought and manage water resources more sustainably.

To explore the management strategies for drought, learners can ask the following questions:

  • What are the different drought management strategies used in different regions?
  • How effective are these strategies, and what are the challenges and limitations of drought management?
  • What are the strategies used to mitigate the impacts of drought, and how successful are they?
  • How can communities adapt to drought and manage water resources more sustainably?

The Importance of the Research Memorandum

The Geography Grade 11 Research about Drought Memorandum is an essential resource for learners preparing for the Geography Grade 11 research task on drought. It provides a clear guideline on what is expected from the learners and how to approach the research task. Learners can gain insight into the research question, methodology, and requirements for the final report. The memorandum can also provide a clear understanding of the scope of the research task and the subtopics that learners should explore. By carefully reading and following the memorandum, learners can ensure that they meet the requirements of the research task and produce a high-quality report. Additionally, the memorandum can also help learners develop important skills such as critical thinking, research, and communication skills. These skills are not only essential for the research task but also for future academic and professional endeavors. Therefore, it is important for learners to take the memorandum seriously and use it as a tool for success.

In conclusion, the Geography Grade 11 research task on drought provides learners with an opportunity to develop their research, analysis, interpretation, and communication skills. By exploring the causes, impacts, and management strategies for drought, learners can gain a deeper understanding of the complex social, economic, and environmental challenges that arise from drought conditions in South Africa. By preparing for the research task and exam, learners can also develop critical thinking skills and improve their ability to communicate their findings effectively. Ultimately, this research task can help learners become more engaged and informed citizens, capable of addressing the complex challenges facing their communities and the world.

10 Ways to Prevent Drought in South Africa

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The Impact of Drought in South Africa Research Grade 11 Geography

The Impact of Drought in South Africa Research Grade 11 Geography

The Impact of Drought in South Africa Research Geography Grade 11: South Africa has experienced a series of droughts over the past few decades, with significant impacts on the environment, economy, and society. As Grade 11 learners, it is crucial to understand the causes and consequences of drought in order to develop solutions for a more sustainable future. This article aims to provide a comprehensive research guide for Grade 11 students on the impact of drought in South Africa.

The Impact of Drought in South Africa Research Grade 11

  • Understanding Drought

Before diving into the impacts of drought, it is essential to understand what drought is and how it is classified. Drought is a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water. Droughts can be classified into three main types:

  • Meteorological drought: Occurs when there is a significant decrease in precipitation compared to the average for a specific region and time period.
  • Agricultural drought: Occurs when there is insufficient soil moisture to meet the needs of crops, leading to decreased agricultural productivity.
  • Hydrological drought: Occurs when there is a deficiency in surface and subsurface water resources, such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
  • Causes of Drought in South Africa

Several factors contribute to the occurrence of drought in South Africa:

  • Climate change: As global temperatures rise, the frequency and intensity of droughts are likely to increase. Changes in precipitation patterns can exacerbate water scarcity in regions already prone to drought.
  • El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO): This climate phenomenon can lead to drought conditions in South Africa when the warm phase, known as El Niño, occurs. This results in suppressed rainfall over the southern African region.
  • Land use practices: Unsustainable land management, such as deforestation, can reduce the ability of ecosystems to store water and contribute to drought.
  • Environmental Impacts

Drought in South Africa has a range of environmental impacts:

  • Decreased water availability: Reduced water levels in rivers, lakes, and dams can lead to water restrictions and increased competition for water resources.
  • Loss of biodiversity: Drought can lead to the death of plants and animals, affecting ecosystems and reducing biodiversity.
  • Soil degradation: Drought can cause soil to become compacted, eroded, or lose its fertility, reducing its ability to support plant life.
  • Economic Impacts

The economic impacts of drought in South Africa are far-reaching:

  • Agricultural losses: Reduced crop yields and livestock productivity can lead to food shortages and increased food prices, affecting both farmers and consumers.
  • Unemployment: The agricultural sector is a significant employer in South Africa. Drought can result in job losses for farmworkers and related industries.
  • Reduced tourism: South Africa’s natural beauty is a significant tourist draw. However, drought can negatively impact water-based recreational activities and wildlife populations, deterring tourists and affecting the tourism industry.
  • Social Impacts

Drought can have severe social consequences in South Africa:

  • Water scarcity: Limited access to clean water can lead to waterborne diseases and affect sanitation, negatively impacting public health.
  • Food insecurity: Food shortages and increased prices can exacerbate food insecurity, particularly for vulnerable populations.
  • Mental health: The stress of dealing with the consequences of drought can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues among affected individuals and communities.
  • Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies

To minimize the impact of drought and increase resilience, South Africa needs to implement various mitigation and adaptation strategies:

  • Water resource management: Improved water resource management, including the development of new water infrastructure and more efficient water use, is crucial for ensuring water security.
  • Sustainable agriculture: Adopting drought-resistant crops and sustainable farming practices can help reduce the impact of drought on agricultural productivity.
  • Reforestation and land management: Reforestation and better land management practices can improve water retention and reduce soil erosion, helping to alleviate drought conditions.
  • Education and awareness: Encouraging communities to adopt water-saving practices and promoting awareness of the consequences of drought is essential for fostering a culture of water conservation.
  • Climate change mitigation: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting global efforts to address climate change can help limit the frequency and intensity of droughts in the future.

Drought is a significant issue in South Africa, with wide-ranging environmental, economic, and social impacts. For Grade 11 students researching the impact of drought, understanding the causes, consequences, and potential solutions is essential. By implementing effective mitigation and adaptation strategies, South Africa can better manage the effects of drought and create a more sustainable and resilient future.

Geography Grade 11 Research Memorandum (Answers & Assistance)

Below are the relevant resources for The Impact of Drought in South Africa Research, Geography Grade 11

  • A map of South Africa, that indicates the drought-stricken areas
  • Annual rainfall graphs of the past five years 
  • Pictures of the different types of droughts 
  • A brief discussion on the annual rainfall graphs 
  • How can droughts be triggered by Physical (natural) conditions
  • How can droughts be triggered by Human activities 
  • Outline the negative impact of droughts on the economy of South Africa 
  • Outline the negative impact of droughts on the farmers of South Africa
  • Discuss drought prevention and drought preparation strategies 
  • What is the relationship between climate change and the regularity of droughts 
  • What is the way forward regarding droughts for the government and the people of South Africa

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Warming climate intensifies flash droughts worldwide

Sudden, severe dry spells known as flash droughts are rising in intensity around the world, with a notable exception in mountainous Central Asia, where flash drought extent is shrinking, according to new research. Heat and changes to precipitation patterns caused by a warming climate are driving these trends, the study found.

Flash droughts arrive suddenly, within weeks, hitting communities that are often not prepared and causing lasting impact. They are an emerging concern for water and food security. The new study is the first to apply a systematic, quantitative approach to the global incidence of flash drought, mapping hotspots and regions of rapid increases in recent decades.

"For many parts of the world, we saw flash droughts extending over larger areas, for longer time, with faster onset speed," said Maheshwari Neelam, a climate scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Universities Space Research Association. She is the lead author of the study, published in Geophysical Research Letters , AGU's journal for high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.

The study defined and tracked three critical measures of drought severity: speed of onset, duration and geographic extent. It analyzed 40 years of NASA's MERRA-2 climate data, from 1980 to 2019, drawn from weather observations, satellite imagery and modeled root-zone soil moisture, with the aim of improving prediction and disaster preparedness.

"For example, in watersheds in South America, onset is getting faster by about 0.12 days per year, so over a decade they are developing a day earlier. Extent is increasing by 1 to 3% per year," Neelam said. "The metrics can be used by early warning systems to incorporate rates of change in flash drought characteristics in risk assessment and disaster preparedness."

South America, particularly southern Brazil and the Amazon, is experiencing strong intensification in all three dimensions of flash drought, aligning with deforestation patterns in the region, high temperatures and less rain. Congo, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, and Madagascar are also hotspots. High temperatures were found to be more important than declining precipitation in the African watersheds.

Land cover is also important to flash drought vulnerability. Savanna and grasslands are more susceptible to flash droughts than other ecotypes, particularly in humid and semi-humid climates, the study found.

In Central Asian watersheds, centered on high mountains, including the Himalaya Karakoram, Tianshan and Hindu Kush, flash drought extent shrank over the study period, bucking the worldwide trend. Climate-driven changes in precipitation, melting snowpack and a shift from snow to rain in the mountains have kept soils moist. These changes can cause an increase in flash floods, which have been observed in the region, Neelam said.

Neelam emphasized the importance of understanding landscapes' response to disasters on a watershed scale for assessing water budgets and water management, transcending geopolitical boundaries.

"Natural hazards have no political values," Neelam said. "This is why we looked at watersheds and not countries."

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Story Source:

Materials provided by American Geophysical Union . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference :

  • Maheshwari Neelam, Christopher Hain. Global Flash Droughts Characteristics: Onset, Duration, and Extent at Watershed Scales . Geophysical Research Letters , 2024; 51 (10) DOI: 10.1029/2024GL109657

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COMMENTS

  1. Drought

    A drought is a period of time when an area or region experiences below-normal precipitation.The lack of adequate precipitation, either rain or snow, can cause reduced soil moisture or groundwater, diminished stream flow, crop damage, and a general water shortage.. Droughts are the second-most costly weather events after hurricanes.Unlike with sudden weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes ...

  2. Essay on Drought for Students and Children

    500+ Words Essay on Drought. Drought is a dangerous condition which decreases the quality of life. It is termed as a natural disaster with harmful effects. A drought usually occurs when a region faces a shortage of water. This is mainly due to lesser rainfalls. In addition, droughts have proven to be fatal for mankind and wildlife as well.

  3. What are the causes of drought?

    A lack of water in stores such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and aquifers (water stored underground naturally) can lead to drought. Areas that rely on rainfall and surface water are more likely to experience drought. Surface water quickly evaporates in warm, dry conditions leading to an increased risk of drought.

  4. Drought

    Drought is a natural disaster that has plagued human society throughout history. However, the meaning of drought varies by perspective and academic discipline, and the cause of drought is difficult to pinpoint. Despite the variation in its meaning, drought generally refers to the condition of an abnormally low amount of water for a given climate.

  5. Drought

    A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions.: 1157 A drought can last for days, months or years. Drought often has large impacts on the ecosystems and agriculture of affected regions, and causes harm to the local economy. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing, with subsequent increased wildfire risks.

  6. Droughts 101

    Biology, Health, Geography. Credits. Media Credits. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. Last Updated.

  7. Types of Drought

    Wilhite and Glantz 1 categorized the definitions in terms of four basic approaches to measuring drought: meteorological , hydrological , agricultural, and socioeconomic. The first three approaches deal with ways to measure drought as a physical phenomenon. The last deals with drought in terms of supply and demand, tracking the effects of water ...

  8. How Does Drought Affect Our Lives?

    Drought affects our lives in many different ways because water is such an important part of so many of our activities. We need water to live, and animals and plants do too. We need water to grow the food we eat. We also use water for many different things in our lives, like washing dishes, cooking, bathing, and swimming or river rafting.

  9. Delightful essay on life in the South African drought

    April 20, 2018. Cape Town, in South Africa, is currently experiencing a drought so bad that it is estimated to happen only once every 300 years (or to be more accurate, is experiencing a drought that has a chance of occurring in a given year of 1/300). This is worse than our D4 drought in Oklahoma and nearby parts of the US Southwest, which are ...

  10. Essay on Drought: Top 9 Essays

    Essay # 8. Drought Prone Areas: Out of the total geographical area of India, almost one-sixth area with 12 per cent of the population is drought prone; the areas that receive an annual rainfall up to 600 mm are the most prone. Irrigation Commission (1972) had identified 67 districts as drought prone.

  11. What causes drought?

    A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. The amount of precipitation at a particular location varies from year to year, but over a period of years the average amount is fairly constant. In the deserts of the Southwest, the average precipitation is less than 3 inches per year. In contrast, the average precipitation in the Northwest is more ...

  12. Drought

    The beginning of a drought is difficult to determine. Several weeks, months, or even years might pass before people know that a drought is occurring. The end of a drought can occur as gradually as it began. The first evidence of drought is usually seen in records of rainfall. Within a short period of time, the amount of moisture in soils can ...

  13. PDF Drought characterization in South Africa under a changing climate

    Drought characterization in South Africa under a changing climate Elelwani Phaduli Supervisor: Dr. Joel Ondego Botai (South African Weather Service) Department: Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Meteorology Faculty: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences University: University of Pretoria Degree: Master of Science ...

  14. Research Progress and Conceptual Insights on Drought Impacts and ...

    Drought is a natural phenomenon which can cause widespread socio-economic and environmental impacts. Recent predictions suggest that drought frequency and intensity will increase in Southern Africa; therefore, there is a need for more scientific information on drought impacts and responses by vulnerable groups such as smallholder farmers. This scoping review examines the current state of ...

  15. PDF Lesson 4: Droughts and Desertification

    Africa is a good example of great vulnerability to drought and desertification and a seemingly inability to manage these climate based issues. A drought means a long period of dry weather during which the lack of rain results in a severe shortage of water. The South African weather service defines a drought as a period of 12 moths when

  16. Seven ways to restore land, halt desertification and combat drought

    Irrigation techniques, such as drip irrigation or mulching, could be used to help maintain soil moisture levels and prevent drought stress. Individuals could make compost from leftover scraps of fruit and vegetables for use in their gardens and balcony plant pots. 3. Protect the pollinators. AFP/Yuri Kadobnov.

  17. Essays on Drought

    Research Report on Drought in Australia. 2 pages / 1064 words. Abstract This Research report is based on the major problem facing by Australian people and mainly farmers and their communities. Many farmers and local communities have been facing severe and prolonged drought. Australia has always had variation in the climate.

  18. 8 innovative drought solutions that we can count 0n

    Rainwater harvesting is a great way to combat drought and is now encouraged among farmers and herders to provide their agriculture with water in times of drought. 3. Drip Irrigation. Source: Borisshin/Wikimedia Commons. Drip irrigation hopes to achieve optimum water delivery for plants and optimum moisture in the soil.

  19. Droughts

    Includes rain, snow, hail, sleet, drizzle, fog and mist. and more chance of drought. High-pressure systems reduce evaporation and moisture in the atmosphere. High-pressure systems reduce ...

  20. Droughts: Definition, Types and Consequences for UPSC Geography

    The term 'Drought' in simple words is the absence of water for a long period of time, at a place where it is considered abnormal as compared to its usual conditions. The distribution of water on the earth's surface is not even. Some places have lots of freshwater e.g. rivers, lakes, lagoons, ponds etc. and they are continuously ...

  21. Grade 11 Research final Mtileni

    Figure 2: Drought and desertification risk spots on a regional scale (Africa) This map shows 'drought risk hotspots' based on extreme and critical interactions. Drought hazard with high overall human vulnerability. It also shows important areas or areas at extreme risk of drought but with low human vulnerability and where climate models are used.

  22. The Impact of Drought in South Africa: Research Grade 11

    Conclusion. South Africa is a country that is susceptible to drought due to its semi-arid climate, which makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and change. Drought has significant impacts on the country's social, economic, and environmental systems. This research task aims to equip Grade 11 learners with skills in research ...

  23. The Impact of Drought in South Africa Research Grade 11 Geography

    Environmental Impacts. Drought in South Africa has a range of environmental impacts: Decreased water availability: Reduced water levels in rivers, lakes, and dams can lead to water restrictions and increased competition for water resources. Loss of biodiversity: Drought can lead to the death of plants and animals, affecting ecosystems and ...

  24. How is about the flash drought events and their impacts on vegetation

    Semantic Scholar extracted view of "How is about the flash drought events and their impacts on vegetation in Central Asia" by Yanchao Zhu et al. ... Semantic Scholar's Logo. Search 218,656,509 papers from all fields of science. Search. Sign In Create Free Account. DOI: 10.1007/s00382-024-07266-3; ... Geography. Remote. Sens.

  25. Warming climate intensifies flash droughts worldwide

    Sudden, severe dry spells known as flash droughts are rising in intensity around the world, with a notable exception in mountainous Central Asia, where flash drought extent is shrinking, according ...

  26. Effects of different hydrological conditions on the taxonomic structure

    The drought in 2022 was the most severe drought event (flash drought (FD)) at Poyang Lake in 71 years, resulting in a complete drought in 2 sub-lakes in Poyang Lake National Nature Reservation. Thus, we analyzed the taxonomic diversity, functional diversity, and the relationship between functional traits and drought before and after the FD.