Impacts are hard to predict:
Two regions experiencing equal levels of reduced rainfall will not be impacted in thesame way.
Drought is different from other natural disasters in
“It is a ’creeping phenomenon,’ making its onset and end difficult to determine. The
effects of drought accumulate slowly over a considerable period of time and maylinger for years after the termination of the event.
“Second, the absence of a precise and universally accepted definition of drought
adds to the confusion about whether or not a drought exists and, if it does, itsseverity.
“Third, the societal impacts of drought are less obvious and extend over a larger
geographical area than damages that result from other natural hazards. Drought
seldom results in structural damage.” So quantifyi
ng the impact of a drought isparticularly tough. ( American Meteorological Society 1997)
Human activities may not only influence the intensity of a drought, but may also causedroughts to occur.
Over-cultivation, overgrazing, and deforestation exacerbated desertification (the spreadof inhospitable dry, windy, water-poor desert conditions) and, consequently, droughtconditions in parts of Africa and Asia (Dregne, 1986).
Humans are responsible for a pronounced hydrological drought in the Aral Sea Basin inCentral Asia (Micklin, 2007).
Apparent impacts of drought:
Heat waves and drought may create the conditions for wildfire or make one worse, as inFeburary 2009 when the Australian state of Victoria was in the midst of a record heatwave and a drought that had lasted a decade. Natural- and human-ignited fires brokeout around the city of Melbourne and the surrounding bush.
Numerous tree species across the European continent experienced increased mortality inthe years following the 2003 autumn drought. ( Allen et al.)