From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Drought (disambiguation).
Contraction/Desiccation cracks in dry earth (Sonoran desert, Mexico).
A drought is a period of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in its water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region and harm to the local economy. 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.
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. Prolonged droughts have caused mass migrations and humanitarian crises. 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).
1 Causes of drought
1.1 Precipitation deficiency
1.2 Dry season
1.3 El Niño
1.4 Erosion and human activities
1.5 Climate change
3 Consequences of drought
5 Protection, mitigation and relief
6 See also
8 External links
Causes of drought
See also: Precipitation
File:Ancient Dry Spells Offer Clues About the Future of Drought.og...
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...s 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.
Hydrological drought is brought about when the water reserves available in sources such as aquifers, lakes and reservoirs fall below the statistical average. 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, Kazakhstan was recently[when?] 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. Similar circumstances also place their largest lake, Balkhash, at risk of completely drying out.
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