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Geosciences LibreTexts

Special Topic: Drought

A drought, also defined as a extended period of exceptionally low rainfall resulting in a scarcity of water, develops in many different ways. Elevated levels of reflected sunlight and raised occurrence of high pressure systems, winds carrying continental, rather than oceanic air masses, and ridges of high pressure areas which put a hold on the production of rainfall

are the main culprits that cause droughts ( There are four different types of droughts, one of them being a meteorological drought. This is defined by the degree of dryness or duration of the dry period to a specific region since those conditions can be variable depending on the area youre focusing on. A second type is referred to as an Agricultural drought which accounts for the lack of water available in order for crops to mature resulting in a yield of plant production. A third type of drought, hydrological, refers to decreased volumes in streams, rivers, and reservoirs. The final type of drought, also known as a socioeconomic drought, occurs when the demand of water exceeds the supply (

It is widely believed that increased temperatures will result in more rainfall as opposed to snow, premature snow melt, and increased evaporation, leading to an increase in conditions favorable for a drought.Within the last decade, drought conditions have hit the Southeastern U.S., the Midwest, and the Western U.S. In 2011, Texas had the driest year since 1895. In 2013, California had the driest year on record ( We must prepare for an increase in these drought conditions by being being conscious and limiting our water supply, utilizing technology that reduces indoor and outdoor water use, increase recycling of water, and increasing use of ground water ( Current focus tends to be on short term measures as a means of conserving water, however its long term management that will ultimately increase resilience.