Meaning of Drought (What it is, Concept and Definition)

What is Drought:

The drought It is a dry period that lasts significantly. It is characterized because during drought the availability of water is below its usual levels, and, consequently, it cannot supply the needs of the living beings (animals, plants and people) that inhabit a given region.

The main cause of drought is lack of rain or precipitationwhich is called meteorological drought.

When meteorological drought persists, it becomes a hydrological drought, which is characterized by the water resources of a region being below normal levels, unable to satisfy normal demand.

A very prolonged hydrological drought, for its part, can lead to a situation of aridity, which would lead to desertification of the land.

See also Desert.

Drought severely affects the living conditions of a place, and therefore its impact on both plant life and animal and human life is important.

Causes of drought

Drought can be caused by many factors, the main one being: lack of precipitation. Precipitation is produced thanks to a series of atmospheric conditions that, if not met, can lead to the absence of rain.

Also exist climatic oscillations periodic events that affect certain regions and generate seasons of relative lack of rain. An example of this is the El Niño phenomenonwhich affects part of the American continent.

However, the human factor can also contribute to creating the conditions for a drought, especially when activities are carried out that promote soil erosion and affect its ability to absorb and retain water. Thus, activities such as overexploitation, excessive irrigation or deforestation can lead to droughts.

See also Deforestation.

Consequences of drought

Droughts have important consequences on the environment, which in turn affect human activities, such as agriculture, the economy, health and society in general. In this sense, some of the most relevant consequences of drought on human life can be:

Reduction in agricultural production. Nutrition problems, dehydration and related diseases. Famines, a consequence of food shortages. Mass migrations to escape drought. Damage to the habitat of species in the affected region. Dust storms in desert areas. Social problems: conflicts and wars caused by water and food.

Types of drought

meteorological drought

Meteorological drought occurs when, over a prolonged period of time, the amount of precipitation is less than the average for a location.

Agricultural drought

We speak of agricultural drought when crop production is affected due to the lack of water resources at normal levels. In this sense, it can be caused as a consequence of a meteorological drought, or, on the contrary, it can occur due to other environmental factors, mainly due to poor management of agricultural activities and soil resources.

Hydrological drought

Hydrological drought is one that occurs when the water reserves available in natural sources, such as lakes, rivers or aquifers, drop below their normal levels. It may be due to meteorological drought, but also to the indiscriminate use of water resources.

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