A drought or drouth is a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the 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.[1] It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region[2] and harm to the local economy.[3] 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.[4] Prolonged droughts have caused mass migrations and humanitarian crisis. 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).[5]

Contraction/Desiccation cracks in dry earth (Sonoran desert, Mexico).

Causes of drought

Precipitation deficiency

Mechanisms of producing precipitation include convective, stratiform,[6] and orographic rainfall.[7] Convective processes involve strong vertical motions that can cause the overturning of the atmosphere in that location within an hour and cause heavy precipitation,[8] while stratiform processes involve weaker upward motions and less intense precipitation over a longer duration.[9] Precipitation can be divided into three categories, based on whether it falls as liquid water, liquid water that freezes on contact with the surface, or ice. Droughts occur mainly in areas where normal levels of rainfall are, in themselves, low. If these factors do not support precipitation volumes sufficiently to reach the surface over a sufficient time, the result is a drought. Drought 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, and ridges of high pressure areas aloft can prevent or restrict the developing of thunderstorm activity or rainfall over one certain region. Once a region is within drought, feedback mechanisms such as local arid air,[10] hot conditions which can promote warm core ridging,[11] and minimal evapotranspiration can worsen drought conditions.

Dry season

Within the tropics, distinct, wet and dry seasons emerge due to the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone or Monsoon trough.[12] The dry season greatly increases drought occurrence,[13] and is characterized by its low humidity, with watering holes and rivers drying up. Because of the lack of these watering holes, many grazing animals are forced to migrate due to the lack of water in search of more fertile lands. Examples of such animals are zebras, elephants,[14] and wildebeest. Because of the lack of water in the plants, bushfires are common.[15] Since water vapor becomes more energetic with increasing temperature, more water vapor is required to increase relative humidity values to 100% at higher temperatures (or to get the temperature to fall to the dew point).[16] Periods of warmth quicken the pace of fruit and vegetable production,[17] increase evaporation and transpiration from plants,[18] and worsen drought conditions.[19]

El Niño

El Nino regional impacts
Regional impacts of warm ENSO episodes (El Niño)

Drier and hotter weather occurs in parts of the Amazon River Basin, Colombia, and Central America during El Niño events. Winters during the El Niño are warmer and drier than average conditions in the Northwest, northern Midwest, and northern Mideast United States, so those regions experience reduced snowfalls. Conditions are also drier than normal from December to February in south-central Africa, mainly in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Botswana. Direct effects of El Niño resulting in drier conditions occur in parts of Southeast Asia and Northern Australia, increasing bush fires, worsening haze, and decreasing air quality dramatically. Drier-than-normal conditions are also in general observed in Queensland, inland Victoria, inland New South Wales, and eastern Tasmania from June to August. As warm water spreads from the west Pacific and the Indian Ocean to the east Pacific, it causes extensive drought in the western Pacific. Singapore experienced the driest February in 2014 since records began in 1869, with only 6.3 mm of rain falling in the month and temperatures hitting as high as 35 °C on 26 February. The years 1968 and 2005 had the next driest Februaries, when 8.4 mm of rain fell.[20]

Erosion and human activities

Human activity can directly trigger exacerbating factors such as over farming, excessive irrigation,[21] deforestation, and erosion adversely impact the ability of the land to capture and hold water.[22] In arid climates, the main source of erosion is wind.[23] Erosion can be the result of material movement by the wind. The wind can cause small particles to be lifted and therefore moved to another region (deflation). Suspended particles within the wind may impact on solid objects causing erosion by abrasion (ecological succession). Wind erosion generally occurs in areas with little or no vegetation, often in areas where there is insufficient rainfall to support vegetation.[24]

Fields outside benambra
Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, Australia suffering from drought conditions.

Loess is a homogeneous, typically nonstratified, porous, friable, slightly coherent, often calcareous, fine-grained, silty, pale yellow or buff, windblown (Aeolian) sediment.[25] It generally occurs as a widespread blanket deposit that covers areas of hundreds of square kilometers and tens of meters thick. Loess often stands in either steep or vertical faces.[26] Loess tends to develop into highly rich soils. Under appropriate climatic conditions, areas with loess are among the most agriculturally productive in the world.[27] Loess deposits are geologically unstable by nature, and will erode very readily. Therefore, windbreaks (such as big trees and bushes) are often planted by farmers to reduce the wind erosion of loess.[23] Wind erosion is much more severe in arid areas and during times of drought. For example, in the Great Plains, it is estimated that soil loss due to wind erosion can be as much as 6100 times greater in drought years than in wet years.[28]

Climatic changes

Activities resulting in global climate change are expected to trigger droughts with a substantial impact on agriculture[29][30] throughout the world, and especially in developing nations.[31][32][33] Overall, global warming will result in increased world rainfall.[34] Along with drought in some areas, flooding and erosion will increase in others. Paradoxically, some proposed solutions to global warming that focus on more active techniques, solar radiation management through the use of a space sunshade for one, may also carry with them increased chances of drought.[35]

Types of drought

As a drought persists, the conditions surrounding it gradually worsen and its impact on the local population gradually increases. People tend to define droughts in three main ways: [36]

  1. Meteorological drought occurs when there is a prolonged time with less than average precipitation.[37] Meteorological drought usually precedes the other kinds of drought.[38]
  2. Agricultural droughts affect crop production or the ecology of the range. This condition can also arise independently from any change in precipitation levels when soil conditions 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.[39]
  3. 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, around 2007 Kazakhstan was 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.[40] Similar circumstances also place their largest lake, Balkhash, at risk of completely drying out.[41]

Consequences of drought

Mongolian Gazelle dead of drought
A Mongolian gazelle dead due to drought.

One can divide the effects of droughts and water shortages into three groups: environmental, economic and social.

  • In the case of 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 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, the chemical, paper, wood, foodstuff industries etc., 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), possible limitation of water supplies, increased pollution levels, high food-costs, stress caused by failed harvests, etc. This explains why droughts and fresh water shortages operate as a factor which increases the gap between developed and developing countries.[42]

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.

Drought can also reduce water quality,[43][44] because lower water-flows reduce dilution of pollutants and increase contamination of remaining water-sources. Common consequences of drought include:


Drought is a normal, recurring feature of the climate in most parts of the world. It is among the earliest documented climatic events, present in the Epic of Gilgamesh and tied to the Biblical story of Joseph's arrival in and the later Exodus from Ancient Egypt.[56] Hunter-gatherer migrations in 9,500 BC Chile have been linked to the phenomenon,[57] as has the exodus of early humans out of Africa and into the rest of the world around 135,000 years ago.[58]

Dust Bowl - Dallas, South Dakota 1936
A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936


Well-known historical droughts include:

  • 1540 Central Europe, said to be the “worst drought of the millennium” with eleven months without rain and temperatures of five to seven °C above the average of the 20th century[59][60]
  • 1900 India killing between 250,000 and 3.25 million.
  • 1921–22 Soviet Union in which over 5 million perished from starvation due to drought
  • 1928–30 Northwest China resulting in over 3 million deaths by famine.
  • 1936 and 1941 Sichuan Province China resulting in 5 million and 2.5 million deaths respectively.
  • The 1997–2009 Millennium Drought in Australia led to a water supply crisis across much of the country. As a result, many desalination plants were built for the first time (see list).
  • In 2006, Sichuan Province China experienced its worst drought in modern times with nearly 8 million people and over 7 million cattle facing water shortages.
  • 12-year drought that was devastating southwest Western Australia, southeast South Australia, Victoria and northern Tasmania was "very severe and without historical precedent".
  • 2015-2018 Cape Town water crisis. This likelihood was tripled by climate change[61]
Sahel Map-Africa rough
Affected areas in the western Sahel belt during the 2012 drought.

The Darfur conflict in Sudan, also affecting Chad, was fueled by decades of drought; combination of drought, desertification and overpopulation are among the causes of the Darfur conflict, because the Arab Baggara nomads searching for water have to take their livestock further south, to land mainly occupied by non-Arab farming people.[62]

Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers.[63] India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. Drought in India affecting the Ganges is of particular concern, as it provides drinking water and agricultural irrigation for more than 500 million people.[64][65][66] The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected.[67][68]

Drought affected area in Karnataka, India, 2012
Drought affected area in Karnataka, India in 2012.

In 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in 100 years.[69][70] A 23 July 2006 article reported Woods Hole Research Center results showing that the forest in its present form could survive only three years of drought.[71][72] Scientists at the Brazilian National Institute of Amazonian Research argue in the article that this drought response, coupled with the effects of deforestation on regional climate, are pushing the rainforest towards a "tipping point" where it would irreversibly start to die. It concludes that the rainforest is on the brink of being turned into savanna or desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate. According to the WWF, the combination of climate change and deforestation increases the drying effect of dead trees that fuels forest fires.[73]

Lake Chad in a 2001 satellite image. The lake has shrunk by 95% since the 1960s.[74][75]

By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. A 2005 study by Australian and American researchers investigated the desertification of the interior, and suggested that one explanation was related to human settlers who arrived about 50,000 years ago. Regular burning by these settlers could have prevented monsoons from reaching interior Australia.[76] In June 2008 it became known that an expert panel had warned of long term, maybe irreversible, severe ecological damage for the whole Murray-Darling basin if it did not receive sufficient water by October 2008.[77] Australia could experience more severe droughts and they could become more frequent in the future, a government-commissioned report said on July 6, 2008.[78] Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery, predicted that unless it made drastic changes, Perth in Western Australia could become the world’s first ghost metropolis, an abandoned city with no more water to sustain its population.[79] The long Australian Millennial drought broke in 2010.

Recurring droughts leading to desertification in East Africa have created grave ecological catastrophes, prompting food shortages in 1984–85, 2006 and 2011.[80] During the 2011 drought, an estimated 50,000 to 150,000 people were reported to have died,[81] though these figures and the extent of the crisis are disputed.[82] In February 2012, the UN announced that the crisis was over due to a scaling up of relief efforts and a bumper harvest.[83] Aid agencies subsequently shifted their emphasis to recovery efforts, including digging irrigation canals and distributing plant seeds.[83]

In 2012, a severe drought struck the western Sahel. The Methodist Relief & Development Fund (MRDF) reported that more than 10 million people in the region were at risk of famine due to a month-long heat wave that was hovering over Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. A fund of about £20,000 was distributed to the drought-hit countries.[84]

Protection, mitigation and relief

Huntington Desert Garden Cactus (etc)
Succulent plants are well-adapted to survive long periods of drought.
FEMA - 917 - Photograph by Angel Santiago taken on 04-03-1998 in Marshall Islands
Water distribution on Marshall Islands during El Niño.

Agriculturally, people can effectively mitigate much of the impact of drought through irrigation and crop rotation. Failure to develop adequate drought mitigation strategies carries a grave human cost in the modern era, exacerbated by ever-increasing population densities. President Roosevelt on April 27, 1935, signed documents creating the Soil Conservation Service (SCS)—now the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Models of the law were sent to each state where they were enacted. These were the first enduring practical programs to curtail future susceptibility to drought, creating agencies that first began to stress soil conservation measures to protect farm lands today. It was not until the 1950s that there was an importance placed on water conservation was put into the existing laws (NRCS 2014).[85]

September Smoke Over the Amazon from 2005-2008
Aerosols over the Amazon each September for four burning seasons (2005 through 2008) during the Amazon basin drought. The aerosol scale (yellow to dark reddish-brown) indicates the relative amount of particles that absorb sunlight.

Strategies for drought protection, mitigation or relief include:

  • Dams – many dams and their associated reservoirs supply additional water in times of drought.[86]
  • Cloud seeding – a form of intentional weather modification to induce rainfall.[87] This remains a hotly debated topic, as the United States National Research Council released a report in 2004 stating that to date, there is still no convincing scientific proof of the efficacy of intentional weather modification.[88]
  • Desalination – use of sea water for irrigation or consumption.[89]
  • Drought monitoring – Continuous observation of rainfall levels and comparisons with current usage levels can help prevent man-made drought. For instance, analysis of water usage in Yemen has revealed that their water table (underground water level) is put at grave risk by over-use to fertilize their Khat crop.[90] Careful monitoring of moisture levels can also help predict increased risk for wildfires, using such metrics as the Keetch-Byram Drought Index[51] or Palmer Drought Index.
  • Land use – Carefully planned crop rotation can help to minimize erosion and allow farmers to plant less water-dependent crops in drier years.
  • Outdoor water-use restriction – Regulating the use of sprinklers, hoses or buckets on outdoor plants, filling pools, and other water-intensive home maintenance tasks. Xeriscaping yards can significantly reduce unnecessary water use by residents of towns and cities.
  • Rainwater harvesting – Collection and storage of rainwater from roofs or other suitable catchments.
  • Recycled water – Former wastewater (sewage) that has been treated and purified for reuse.
  • Transvasement – Building canals or redirecting rivers as massive attempts at irrigation in drought-prone areas.

See also



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External links

Media related to Drought at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of Drought at Wiktionary Drought at Wikibooks

1955 United Kingdom heat wave

The UK drought of 1955 and associated heatwave were a set of severe weather events that occurred over all parts of the country. The drought was the 7th worst drought in Yorkshire, and worse than the famous 1976 drought and heatwave in the region. The drought followed a period of extremely wet weather previous to the event, limiting the effects. However, the usual impacts were seen with water levels and the water table dropping and reservoirs running low.

2011 East Africa drought

Between July 2011 and mid-2012, a severe drought affected the entire East Africa region. Said to be "the worst in 60 years", the drought caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya that threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people. Many refugees from southern Somalia fled to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, where crowded, unsanitary conditions together with severe malnutrition led to a large number of deaths. Other countries in East Africa, including Sudan, South Sudan and parts of Uganda, were also affected by a food crisis.According to FAO-Somalia, the food crisis in Somalia primarily affected farmers in the south rather than the northern pastoralists. Human Rights Watch (HRW) consequently noted that most of the displaced persons belonged to the agro-pastoral Rahanweyn clan and the agricultural Bantu ethnic minority group. On 20 July, the United Nations officially declared famine in two regions in the southern part of the country (IPC Phase 5), the first time a famine had been declared in the region by the UN in nearly thirty years. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have died in southern Somalia before famine was declared. This was mainly a result of Western governments preventing aid from reaching affected areas in an attempt to weaken the Al-Shabaab militant group, against whom they were engaged.Although fighting disrupted aid delivery in some areas, a scaling up of relief operations in mid-November had unexpectedly significantly reduced malnutrition and mortality rates in southern Somalia, prompting the UN to downgrade the humanitarian situation in the Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabele regions from famine to emergency levels. According to the Lutheran World Federation, military activities in the country's southern conflict zones had also by early December 2011 greatly reduced the movement of migrants. By February 2012, several thousand people had also begun returning to their homes and farms. In addition, humanitarian access to rebel-controlled areas had improved and rainfall had surpassed expectations, improving the prospects of a good harvest in early 2012.By January 2012, the food crisis in southern Somalia was no longer at emergency levels according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The UN indicated in February 2012 that indirect data from health and relief centers pointed to improved general conditions from August 2011. The UN also announced that the famine in southern Somalia was over. However, FEWS NET indicated that Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity persisted through March in several areas on account of crop flooding and ongoing military operations in these areas, which restricted humanitarian access, trade and movement.Aid agencies subsequently shifted their emphasis to recovery efforts, including digging irrigation canals and distributing plant seeds. Long-term strategies by national governments in conjunction with development agencies were said to offer the most sustainable results.

Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest (Portuguese: Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia; Spanish: Selva Amazónica, Amazonía or usually Amazonia; French: Forêt amazonienne; Dutch: Amazoneregenwoud), also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest in the Amazon biome that covers most of the Amazon basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7,000,000 km2 (2,700,000 sq mi), of which 5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and France (French Guiana). States or departments in four nations contain "Amazonas" in their names. The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species.

Central American dry corridor

The Central American Dry Corridor (CADC) is a tropical dry forest region on the Pacific Coast of Central America. It extends from southern Mexico to Panama.Severe drought has become a problem in this area due to changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), especially in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.Millions of people in the dry corridor needed food aid due to drought between 2014 to mid-2016, which resulted in losses of the corn crop.Drought impact has been especially severe in Honduras and Guatemala.

Classic Maya collapse

In archaeology, the classic Maya collapse is the decline of the Classic Maya civilization and the abandonment of Maya cities in the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica between the 8th and 9th centuries, at the end of the Classic Maya Period. The Preclassic Maya experienced a similar collapse in the 2nd century.The Classic Period of Mesoamerican chronology is generally defined as the period from 250 to 900 CE, the last century of which is referred to as the Terminal Classic. The Classic Maya collapse is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in archaeology. Urban centers of the southern lowlands, among them Palenque, Copán, Tikal, and Calakmul, went into decline during the 8th and 9th centuries and were abandoned shortly thereafter. Archaeologically, this decline is indicated by the cessation of monumental inscriptions and the reduction of large-scale architectural construction at the primary urban centers of the Classic Period.Although termed a collapse, it did not mark the end of the Maya civilization but rather a shift away from the Southern Lowlands as a power center; the Northern Yucatán in particular prospered afterwards, although with very different artistic and architectural styles, and with much less use of monumental hieroglyphic writing. In the Post-Classic Period following the collapse, the state of Chichén Itzá built an empire that briefly united much of the Maya region, and centers such as Mayapán and Uxmal flourished, as did the Highland states of the Kʼicheʼ and Kaqchikel Maya. Independent Maya civilization continued until 1697 when the Spanish conquered Nojpetén, the last independent city-state. Millions of Maya people still inhabit the Yucatán peninsula today.Because parts of Maya civilization unambiguously continued, a number of scholars strongly dislike the term collapse. Regarding the proposed collapse, E. W. Andrews IV went as far as to say, "in my belief no such thing happened."

Drought in Australia

Drought in Australia is defined by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as rainfall over a three-month period being in the lowest decile of what has been recorded for that region in the past. This definition takes into account that drought is a relative term and rainfall deficiencies need to be compared to typical rainfall patterns including seasonal variations. Specifically, drought in Australia is defined in relation to a rainfall deficiency of pastoral leases and is determined by decile analysis applied to a certain area. Note that this definition uses rainfall only because long-term records are widely available across most of Australia. However, it does not take into account other variables that might be important for establishing surface water balance, such as evaporation and condensation.

Historical climatic records are now sufficiently reliable to profile climate variability taking into account expectations for regions. Bureau of Meteorology records since the 1860s show that a ‘severe’ drought has occurred in Australia, on average, once every 18 years. State Governments are responsible for declaring a region drought affected and the declaration will take into account factors other than rainfall.The worst drought to affect the country occurred in the 21st century—between the years 2003 to 2012. Nonetheless, many regions of Australia are still in significant drought, and rainfall records have showed a marked decrease in precipitation levels since 1994, with many scientists attributing this to climate change and global warming. Deficiencies in northern Australia increased in 2013–14, leading to an extended drought period in certain parts of Queensland.

Drought tolerance

Drought tolerance is the ability to which a plant maintains its biomass production during arid or drought conditions. Some plants are naturally adapted to dry conditions, surviving with protection mechanisms such as desiccation tolerance, detoxification, or repair of xylem embolism. Other plants, specifically crops like corn, wheat, and rice, have become increasingly tolerant to drought with new varieties created via genetic engineering.The mechanisms behind drought tolerance are complex and involve many pathways which allows plants to respond to specific sets of conditions at any given time. Some of these interactions include stomatal conductance, carotenoid degradation and anthocyanin accumulation, the intervention of osmoprotectants (such as sucrose, glycine, and proline), ROS-scavenging enzymes. The molecular control of drought tolerance is also very complex and is influenced other factors such as environment and the developmental stage of the plant. This control consists mainly of transcriptional factors, such as dehydration-responsive element-binding protein (DREB), abscisic acid (ABA)-responsive element-binding factor (AREB), and NAM (no apical meristem).

Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent the aeolian processes (wind erosion) caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. With insufficient understanding of the ecology of the plains, farmers had conducted extensive deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains during the previous decade; this had displaced the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture even during periods of drought and high winds. The rapid mechanization of farm equipment, especially small gasoline tractors, and widespread use of the combine harvester contributed to farmers' decisions to convert arid grassland (much of which received no more than 10 inches (~250 mm) of precipitation per year) to cultivated cropland.During the drought of the 1930s, the unanchored soil turned to dust, which the prevailing winds blew away in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named "black blizzards" or "black rollers" – traveled cross country, reaching as far as the East Coast and striking such cities as New York City and Washington, D.C. On the plains, they often reduced visibility to 3 feet (1 m) or less. Associated Press reporter Robert E. Geiger happened to be in Boise City, Oklahoma, to witness the "Black Sunday" black blizzards of April 14, 1935; Edward Stanley, Kansas City news editor of the Associated Press coined the term "Dust Bowl" while rewriting Geiger's news story. While the term "the Dust Bowl" was originally a reference to the geographical area affected by the dust, today it usually refers to the event itself (the term "Dirty Thirties" is also sometimes used).

The drought and erosion of the Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2) that centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and touched adjacent sections of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.The Dust Bowl forced tens of thousands of poverty-stricken families to abandon their farms, unable to pay mortgages or grow crops, and losses reached $25 million per day by 1936 (equivalent to $450,000,000 in 2018). Many of these families, who were often known as "Okies" because so many of them came from Oklahoma, migrated to California and other states to find that the Great Depression had rendered economic conditions there little better than those they had left.

The Dust Bowl has been the subject of many cultural works, notably the novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by John Steinbeck, the folk music of Woody Guthrie, and photographs depicting the conditions of migrants by Dorothea Lange.

Economy of Karnataka

Karnataka is one of the highest economic growth states in India with an expected GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) growth of 8.2% in the fiscal year 2010–2011. The total expected GSDP of Karnataka in 2010–2011 is about ₹2719.56 billion. Per capita GSDP during 2008–2009 was US$1034.9. Karnataka recorded the highest growth rates in terms of GDP and per capita GDP in the last decade compared to other states. In 2008–09, the tertiary sector contributed the most to GSDP (US$31.6 billion─55 percent), followed by the secondary sector ($17 billion─29 percent), and the primary sector (US$9.5 billion─16 percent).With an overall GDP growth of 56.2% and a per capita GDP growth of 43.9% in the last decade, Karnataka surpassed all other states in India, pushing Karnataka's per capita income in Indian Rupee terms to sixth place. Karnataka received US$2,026.4 million worth of Foreign Direct Investment for the fiscal year 2008–09, placing it at the third spot among states in India. At the end of 2004, the unemployment rate of Karnataka was 4.57% compared to a national rate of 5.99%. For the fiscal year 2006–07 the inflation rate of Karnataka was 4.4%, which was less than the national average.Between 2011-12 and 2017-18, the GSDP of the state grew at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.11 per cent to reach ₹12.69 trillion (US$ 196.88 billion) and the net state domestic product (NSDP) grew at a CAGR of 12.83 per cent to reach ₹11.45 trillion (US$ 177.68 billion).A fiscal year in Karnataka begins on 1 April of the previous calendar year and ends on 31 March of the year with which it is numbered.

After Bangalore urban district, Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) and Belgaum district contribute the second and third highest revenue to the state respectively.


A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every inhabited continent in the world has experienced a period of famine throughout history. In the 19th and 20th century, it was generally Southeast and South Asia, as well as Eastern and Central Europe that suffered the most deaths from famine. The numbers dying from famine began to fall sharply from the 2000s.

Some countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, continue to have extreme cases of famine. Since 2010, Africa has been the most affected continent in the world. As of 2017, the United Nations has warned some 20 million are at risk in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. The distribution of food has been affected by conflict. Most programmes now direct their aid towards Africa.

Late Bronze Age collapse

The Late Bronze Age collapse involved a Dark Age transition period in the Near East, Asia Minor, the Aegean region, North Africa, Caucasus, Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, a transition which historians believe was violent, sudden, and culturally disruptive. The palace economy of the Aegean region and Anatolia that characterised the Late Bronze Age disintegrated, transforming into the small isolated village cultures of the Greek Dark Ages. The half-century between c. 1200 and 1150 BC saw the cultural collapse of the Mycenaean kingdoms, of the Kassite dynasty of Babylonia, of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and the Levant, and of the Egyptian Empire; the destruction of Ugarit and the Amorite states in the Levant, the fragmentation of the Luwian states of western Asia Minor, and a period of chaos in Canaan. The deterioration of these governments interrupted trade routes and severely reduced literacy in much of the known world. In the first phase of this period, almost every city between Pylos and Gaza was violently destroyed, and many abandoned, including Hattusa, Mycenae, and Ugarit. According to Robert Drews:

Within a period of forty to fifty years at the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the twelfth century almost every significant city in the eastern Mediterranean world was destroyed, many of them never to be occupied again.

Only a few powerful states, particularly Assyria, Egypt (albeit badly weakened), and Elam, survived the Bronze Age collapse – but by the end of the 12th century BC, Elam waned after its defeat by Nebuchadnezzar I, who briefly revived Babylonian fortunes before suffering a series of defeats by the Assyrians. Upon the death of Ashur-bel-kala in 1056 BC, Assyria went into a comparative decline for the next 100 or so years, its empire shrinking significantly. By 1020 BC Assyria appears to have controlled only the areas in its immediate vicinity; the well-defended Assyria itself was not threatened during the collapse.

Gradually, by the end of the ensuing Dark Age, remnants of the Hittites coalesced into small Syro-Hittite states in Cilicia and the Levant, the latter states being composed of mixed Hittite and Aramean polities. Beginning in the mid-10th century BC, a series of small Aramaean kingdoms formed in the Levant and the Philistines settled in southern Canaan where the Canaanite-speaking Semites had coalesced into a number of defined polities such as Israel, Moab, Edom and Ammon. From 935 BC Assyria began to reorganise and once more expand outwards, leading to the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC), which came to control a vast area from the Caucasus to Egypt, and from Greek Cyprus to Persia. Phrygians, Cimmerians and Lydians arrived in Asia Minor, and a new Hurrian polity of Urartu formed in eastern Asia Minor and the southern Caucasus, where the Colchians (Georgians) also emerged. Iranian peoples such as the Persians, Medes, Parthians and Sargatians first appeared in Ancient Iran soon after 1000 BC, displacing earlier non-Indo-European Kassites, Hurrians and Gutians in the northwest of the region, although the indigenous language isolate-speaking Elamites and Manneans continued to dominate the southwest and Caspian Sea regions respectively. After the Orientalising period in the Aegean, Classical Greece emerged.

A range of explanations for the collapse have been proposed, without any achieving consensus; several factors probably played a part. These include climatic changes (including the results of volcanic eruptions), invasions by the Sea Peoples and others, the effects of the spread of iron-based metallurgy, developments in military weapons and tactics, and a variety of failures of political, social and economic systems.

Lil Wayne

Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known professionally as Lil Wayne, is an American rapper, singer, record executive and actor. His career began in 1993, at the age of 11, when he was discovered by Birdman and joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo The B.G.'z, alongside fellow New Orleans-based rapper B.G.. The duo then joined the southern hip hop group Hot Boys, with Cash Money label-mates Juvenile and Turk, in 1997, which foresaw the release of their debut album, Get It How U Live!, that same year. The group became popular following the release of the platinum-selling album Guerrilla Warfare (1999) and the 1999 single "Bling Bling". For many years, Lil Wayne was the flagship artist of Cash Money Records, before ending his long-tenured deal with the company in June 2018.Lil Wayne's solo debut album Tha Block Is Hot (1999) was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His subsequent albums, Lights Out (2000) and 500 Degreez (2002), went on to be certified gold. Lil Wayne reached higher popularity with his fourth album Tha Carter (2004), as well as with his appearance on the song "Soldier" with Destiny's Child that same year. The album was followed by Tha Carter II (2005), as well as several mixtapes and collaborations throughout 2006 and 2007. Lil Wayne gained more prominence with his sixth album Tha Carter III (2008), which became his most successful album to date, with first-week sales of over one million copies in the United States. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and includes the singles "Lollipop", "A Milli" and "Got Money".

Following the success of Tha Carter III, Wayne decided to record a rock-esque album titled Rebirth. The album, released in 2010, was certified gold by the RIAA, despite a generally negative critical response. In March 2010, Lil Wayne began serving an 8-month jail sentence in New York after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007. His eighth studio album I Am Not a Human Being (2010) was released during his incarceration, while his 2011 album Tha Carter IV was released following his release. Tha Carter IV sold 964,000 copies in its first week in the United States, and includes the singles "6 Foot 7 Foot", "How to Love" and "She Will". On September 27, 2012, Lil Wayne became the first male artist to surpass Elvis Presley with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with 109 songs.His twelfth studio album, Tha Carter V, was released in 2018 after multiple delays. It sold 480,000 copies in its first week and went on to be certified platinum. Lil Wayne has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including more than 15 million albums and 37 million digital tracks in the United States, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. Lil Wayne also currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Young Money Entertainment.

List of Major League Baseball franchise postseason droughts

Throughout the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), franchises have had various postseason and World Series droughts.

All 16 of the original Major League franchises (i.e., those in place when the first World Series was played in 1903) have won the World Series, with the longest wait for a franchise's first championship being for the Phillies (77 years, ending in 1980). Since expansion began in 1961, seven of the 14 expansion teams have never won the World Series. Further, one franchise (the Indians) has a current championship drought that pre-dates the expansion era. The three longest championship droughts in history were ended recently by the Red Sox (85 years, ending in 2004), the White Sox (87 years, ending in 2005), and the Cubs (107 years, ending in 2016). Discounting the 33 years in which there was no MLB franchise in Washington, there have been 61 seasons played in Washington since their last World Series championship (in 1924).

Only two expansion franchises (the Expos/Nationals and the Mariners) have never won a pennant (i.e., the league championship, the two winners of which meet in the World Series). The two longest pennant droughts in history were recently ended by the Rangers (49 years, starting with the team's foundation, ending in 2010) and the Cubs (70 years, ending in 2016). The Expos/Nationals pennant drought includes 36 years in Montreal, which no longer hosts a team, and 14 years since the move to Washington; discounting the 33 years in which there was no MLB franchise in Washington, there have been 52 seasons played in Washington since their last pennant (in 1933).

Every MLB franchise has at least been to the postseason, especially since expansion of the playoffs in 1994 made that feat easier. The Mariners have the longest active postseason drought at 17 years. Long postseason droughts were ended recently by the Nationals (30 years for the franchise, 45 seasons over 78 years for the city, ending in 2012), the Pirates (20 years, ending in 2013), the Royals (28 years, ending in 2014), and the Blue Jays (21 years, ending in 2015).

This list includes only the modern World Series between the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), not the various 19th-century championship series. Those teams which have never achieved a particular accomplishment in their franchise history are listed by the date they entered the leagues.

List of NHL franchise post-season droughts

This article is a list of the active and all-time National Hockey League (NHL) franchise post-season appearance, post-season series win, Stanley Cup Finals and Stanley Cup droughts up to and including the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. Those teams which have never made it in franchise history are listed by the season that they entered the league, either as a new franchise or when they merged into the NHL from the defunct World Hockey Association (WHA) league.

Note: These lists do not include the cancelled 2004–05 NHL season.

Among the current 31 NHL teams, 12 have never won the Stanley Cup, including one (the St. Louis Blues) that is among the five oldest expansion teams. Additionally, one of the Original Six franchises – the Toronto Maple Leafs – has a Stanley Cup drought that includes the entire expansion era (50 seasons and counting). With the Vegas Golden Knights winning the Western Conference in 2018, there are only four franchises that have never reached the Stanley Cup Finals. Of those four, the oldest is the Arizona Coyotes (previously the Winnipeg Jets) (38 seasons), while the Maple Leafs and the Blues have even longer droughts (50 and 47 seasons, respectively). The longest Stanley Cup championship drought in history was that of the New York Rangers, broken in 1994 after 53 seasons. The Maple Leafs have the current longest active Stanley Cup championship drought (and second-longest) at 50 seasons and counting. At the time the Chicago Blackhawks ended the second-longest ever Stanley Cup championship drought at 47 seasons (now the sixth-longest), which was broken in 2010. The end of that drought was the first of three consecutive years in which one of the eleven longest such droughts was broken (Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, Boston Bruins in 2011, and Los Angeles Kings in 2012).

The Florida Panthers have the longest active win drought (22 seasons). The longest playoff droughts in history were by the Panthers and Edmonton Oilers at 10 seasons, which ended in 2012 and 2017 respectively.

List of famines

This is a list of famines.


A megadrought (or mega-drought) is a prolonged drought lasting two decades or longer. Past megadroughts have been associated with persistent multiyear La Niña conditions (cooler than normal water temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean).The term megadrought is generally used to describe the length of a drought, and not its acute intensity. In scientific literature the term is used to describe decades-long droughts or multi-decadal droughts. Multiyear droughts of less than a decade, such as the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, are generally not described as megadroughts even though they are of a long duration. In popular literature multiyear or even single year droughts are occasionally described as megadroughts based upon their severity, the economic damage they inflict or other criteria, but this is the exception and not the rule.


The Sahel () is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The name is derived from the Arabic word sāḥil (ساحل, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈsaːħil]) meaning "coast" or "shore" in a figurative sense (in reference to the southern edge of the vast Sahara), while the name in Swahili means "coastal [dweller]" in a literal sense.

The Sahel part of Africa includes (from west to east) parts of northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, central Mali, northern Burkina Faso, the extreme south of Algeria, Niger, the extreme north of Nigeria, central Chad, central and southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and the extreme north of Ethiopia.Historically, the western part of the Sahel was sometimes known as the Sudan region. This belt was roughly located between the Sahara and the coastal areas of West Africa.

Succulent plant

In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents, are plants that have some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word "succulent" comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. Succulent plants may store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems. Some definitions also include roots, thus geophytes that survive unfavorable periods by dying back to underground storage organs may be regarded as succulents. In horticultural use, the term "succulent" is sometimes used in a way which excludes plants that botanists would regard as succulents, such as cacti. Succulents are often grown as ornamental plants because of their striking and unusual appearance.

Many plant families have multiple succulents found within them (over 25 plant families). In some families, such as Aizoaceae, Cactaceae, and Crassulaceae, most species are succulents. The habitats of these water preserving plants are often in areas with high temperatures and low rainfall. Succulents have the ability to thrive on limited water sources, such as mist and dew, which makes them equipped to survive in an ecosystem which contains scarce water sources.


A xerophyte (from Greek ξηρός xeros dry, φυτόν phuton plant) is a species of plant that has adaptations to survive in an environment with little liquid water, such as a desert or an ice- or snow-covered region in the Alps or the Arctic. Popular examples of xerophytes are cacti, pineapple and some Gymnosperm plants.

The structural features (morphology) and fundamental chemical processes (physiology) of xerophytes are variously adapted to conserve water, also common to store large quantities of water, during dry periods. Other species are able to survive long periods of extreme dryness or desiccation of their tissues, during which their metabolic activity may effectively shut down. Plants with such morphological and physiological adaptations are xeromorphic. Xerophytes such as cacti are capable of withstanding extended periods of dry conditions as they have deep-spreading roots and capacity to store water. The leaves are waxy and thorny that prevents loss of water and moisture. Even their fleshy stems can store water.


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