Drought

Lake Chad has shrunk dramatically over the last four decades due to a decrease in rainfall and an increase in the amount of water used for irrigation projects. Its surface area was 25 000 sq km in the early 1960s, compared with 1350 sq km in 2001. Image acquired 19 December 2007 by the MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) instrument aboard ESA’s Envisat satellite. Image: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

Definition

Drought may be considered in general terms a consequence of a reduction over an extended period of time in the amount of precipitation that is received, usually over a season or more in length. It is a temporary aberration, unlike aridity, which is a permanent feature of the climate. Seasonal aridity (i.e., a well-defined dry season) also needs to be distinguished from drought. It should be noted that drought is a normal, recurrent feature of climate, and it occurs in virtually all climatic regimes (UNDDR).

Facts and figures

Droughts are often predictable: periods of unusual dryness are normal in all weather systems. Advance warning is possible (WHO).

By 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water stressed conditions (UNCCD).

Drought can be defined according to meteorological, agricultural, hydrological and socio-economic criteria.

  • Meteorological, when precipitation departs from the long-term normal
  • Agricultural, when there is insufficient soil moisture to meet the needs of a particular crop at a particular time. Agricultural drought is typically evident after meteorological drought but before a hydrological drought
  • Hydrological, when deficiencies occur in surface and subsurface water supplies
  • Socio-economic, when human activities are affected by reduced precipitation and related water availability. This form of drought associates human activities with elements of meteorological, agricultural, and hydrological drought (FAO).

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News

Sentinel 3. Image: ESA.

A new project of the European Space Agency (ESA) aims to combine data from two different Copernicus Sentinel missions to provide estimates of... read more

Publishing date: 31/07/2020
Central-pivot agricultural fields along the Orange River in South Africa. Image: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA.

A grantmaking collective committed to creating and mobilizing labeled datasets that facilitate the development of machine learning applications to address urgent problems has launched a new request for proposals (RFP) for funding. Lacuna Fund, which aims to support as many organizations as possible in using artificial intelligence for social good in low- and middle-income contexts, focuses on agriculture, health and languages. This latest request for proposals will fund labeled agricultural datasets for machine learning in sub-Saharan Africa, whether referenced to Earth observation data or related to other aspects of the crop and animal agricultural system.

Interested organizations headquartered in Africa or having a substantial partnership with organization(s) headquartered in Africa can submit their applications until 3 September 2020. Further details are available... read more

Publishing date: 29/07/2020
Report cover page. Image: UNESCAP.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has published a policy study concerning the impending climate risk scenarios in South Asia and their intersection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this report is to facilitate policy actions that could protect communities at risk as well as to lay the foundations of resilient recovery of the most vulnerable in South Asia. 

ESCAP has published two additional reports this year, one on the “Impact and Policy Responses for COVID-19 in Asia and the Pacific”, which presents an initial... read more

Publishing date: 23/07/2020
Image: UNFPA.

In the latest example of anticipatory humanitarian action, the United Nations released $5.2 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help communities in Bangladesh prepare themselves ahead of major monsoon floods. The allocation of funds to agencies in the country to prepare to deliver support was triggered by a forecast from the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS), which predicted areas having a greater than 50 per cent chance of experiencing a severe flood between 14 and 16 July. Following a second forecast by the Government’s Flood Forecasting & Warning Centre (FFWC) on 11 July, aid workers began distributing the aid.

The swift assistance provided in Bangladesh comes as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock has agreed to allocate up to $140 million from the UN... read more

Publishing date: 21/07/2020

Data Source

Advisory Support

UN-SPIDER conducted a Institutional Strengthening Mission in Sri Lanka from 24 to 28 April 2017. Th ISM was a follow-up to the technical advisory mission to Sri Lanka in 2011. Both the original mission and the follow-up activity were hosted by the Ministry of Disaster Management of Sri Lanka and its associated Disaster Management Centre.

Mission dates: 24/04/2017 to 28/04/2017

This mission was conducted with the Director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs as a way to strengthen the link between the National Emergency Commission of the Dominican Republic and UN-SPIDER, and took place from 18 July 2016 to 22 July 2016 in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Mission dates: 18/07/2016 to 22/07/2016

Event

WCDM 2020 picture of floods. Image: WCDM

World Congress on Disaster Management (WCDM) is a unique initiative of DMICS to bring researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world in the same platform to discuss various challenging issues of disaster risk management. The mission of WCDM is to promote interaction of science, policy and practices to enhance understanding of risks and advance actions for reducing risks and building... read more

Global Congress on Climate Resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction logo. Image: CEED
The major thrives of this congress will be discuss and develop an integrated Climate Resilience Ecosystem that will address Future Disaster Risk Reduction and Capacity Development of Vulnerable Communities for Sustainable & Inclusive Growth and Subsequently publish a White Paper that will be submitted to the Government of India and the State Government.
 
The Conference will discuss different topics, including:
  • Application of GIS & Remote Sensing for Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Costal Vulnerability and Adaption strategies
  • Water Security and Risk Management
  • Management of Solid Waste for Sustainable Development
  • Climate and Carbon Financing
  • Sustainability and Inclusive Growth
  • Extreme weather Events
  • Global Warming and Coastal Risks
  • Multi... read more

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