Drought Facts

Drought Facts
Drought is a term used to define a period of time in which there is below-average precipitation in a region that results in water shortages, lasting from weeks, to months, to years. A drought can be declared in as little as 15 days, and drought can be the result of water shortages in ground water, surface water, or even atmospheric water. Droughts have the ability to harm more than just the agriculture and ecosystem of the region, but also the economy of those living in the region. Drought can have even more far-reaching impacts when it affects a region that supplies agricultural products to other regions. Some regions have become so prone to drought conditions that the plants have adapted to become drought tolerant, while other plants cease to grow in the area.
Interesting Drought Facts:
The four main types of drought include meteorological (low rain or precipitation), agricultural (lack of soil moisture), hydrological (low water levels in lakes and other water sources), and socioeconomic (drinking and tap water shortages).
Throughout history droughts have resulted in mass migration, which means that large numbers of people have been displaced from their homes and had to rebuild their lives in new areas, and many times in new countries.
Droughts can result in decreased crop yield, and less livestock capacity.
Droughts can cause dust bowls, which can result in the top soil layer being completely blown away, leaving behind soil that does not have enough nutrients to sustain crop growth once the drought has ceased.
Droughts do damage to the habitat of animals, birds, and fish as well.
Drought can result in severe malnutrition, disease, and dehydration to those who rely on local water.
When droughts occur in regions that are powered by hydroelectric dams, the electricity production can be negatively affected.
Droughts can result in wildfires as the vegetation is dry and susceptible to catching fire more easily.
Low water levels can result in the accumulation of toxic chemicals in the water which enters the human food supply chain through seafood.
Drought results in lack of water for irrigating crops. This seriously affects the food chain and can result in famine.
The drought in 1900 in India resulted in the deaths of as many as 3.25 million people.
5 million in Russia died between 1921 and 1922 from starvation due to drought.
3 million people in Northwest China died between 1928 and 1930 due to famine resulting from drought.
Droughts can lead to war, as people are forced to gain access to water from outside of their region. Sudan's conflict in Darfur was partially a result of decades of drought. Other contributions to the conflict include overpopulation and land degradation.
Between 1969 and 1980 in Africa, 150 million people were affected by drought.
Snakes often migrate when drought occurs, which can occur in increased snake bites to human populations.
While drought is often the result of weather patterns, human activity can be a cause of drought. Deforestation, farming, excessive irrigation, erosion, and climate change due to global warming are all human causes of drought.

Related Links:
Environmental Science Facts
Animals Facts

Educational Videos