Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming

Drought is “a prolonged absence of precipitation that results in a lack of water.”

During the Industrial Revolution, annual global temperatures increased by just a little more than 1 degree Celsius approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Global warming is caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants building up in the atmosphere and absorbing sunlight and sun that travels through Earth’s surface.

Europe, China, and North America are experiencing extreme temperatures, which would be “impossible” without the effects of global warming. Global warming caused by human activity has resulted in around 20 times more droughts across Europe, North America, and China this year than a century ago.

Affiliating increased drought with global warming is a challenge because droughts are variable. Also, they may occur each year or at least every few years. They can persist for decades or years and result in various degrees of drought. Some regions will get wetter as the climate warms, and others in the middle will likely get drier.

Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming
More frequent droughts are increasing desertification

The severe summer droughts damaging crops, disrupting trade in rivers, and putting pressure on hydropower generation across the globe will be challenging. In the United States, nearly half of the states in the lower 48 were hit by severe or moderate droughts this summer, as per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The role climate change plays in the drought.

Global warming affects evapotranspiration–the movement of water from land and surface water to the atmosphere and through evaporation and transpiration–which is thought to lead to increased droughts and droughts in arid regions.

The amount of rain that falls has been decreasing from the 70s onwards in Subtropical and tropical regions, such as southern Africa and the African coast and Southern Asia, as well as southern Asia, the Mediterranean, and South Asia. The American Southwest will be drier. The areas that are still wet may be subject to prolonged dry conditions between rainy events.

Climate changes make dry spells more common and last longer and harder. Higher temperatures cause more evaporation, which decreases surface water and causes soil drying and vegetation. The rainy seasons with lower rainfall tend to be less dry than those in cooler climates.

The higher temperatures do not just cause drought conditions, but they also increase the severity.

Warming is likely to increase the variation of precipitation, which means there will be seasons of drought and heavy rain. It means that there will be a need for ample water storage during drought seasons, increasing the chance of dam failure and flooding in heavy rain.

Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming
Heritage water tanks, an asset during drought

Climate change is drying out specific areas. Scientists predict the amount of land affected by drought to increase by midcentury and the water supply in the affected regions to decrease by as much as 30 percent. For instance, the southwestern United States has already seen an overall decrease in precipitation since the start of the turn of the century, and the trend is expected to persist.

In some areas where drought is prevalent, it can be because of extreme weather conditions. The soil is dry, and plants absorb more heat and sunlight, which can lead to the formation of a powerful pressure system that stops rained causes drought—drying up.

Such as the moderate-to-severe drought, which affected 50% of the United States in 2012, and the most severe dry spell in the West, which continues to persist today.

Drought threats

The effects of drought on our society and the environment are in various ways. Everything in the natural world is connected like everything else in our lives. Every single way drought affects us is known as we refer to drought effects.

Water is essential for living and also for animals as well as plants. We require water to grow the food we consume.

We also depend on water to do various things daily, like cooking, washing dishes, bathing, showering, river rafting, and swimming. Water can also be used to create the electricity we need to power the lights of our homes and the video games we like to play. Due to drought, many people and various items are affected in multiple ways if we need more water to support these things.

Supply of water:

The water shortage in rivers, reservoirs, and wells can cause a crisis. The drought can cause lower water levels in lakes, pools, and ponds and decreased river flow. The decrease in water availability could result in the shrinking of some wetlands, loss of groundwater, and the effect on water quality.

Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming
Droughts are threatening global wetlands

In the event of drought, communities could be denied access to water for their domestic needs, such as cooking, drinking, cleaning, washing, watering facilities, transportation, agriculture, and power production. In 2019, 38 percent of the EU populace was affected due to the water shortage.

Groundwater is responsible for over 40% of the water needed for water supply to agriculture and domestic use throughout the United States. The increased pumping in drought times will reduce the future water resources available. However, strategies to offset the loss of groundwater can aid in building drought-resistant structures.


The primary economic effect of drought on the agriculture sector is the loss of crops and pastures. Lack of drinking water can decrease the capacity of soil to support crops, increase dirt and erosion of soil caused by drought, and raise the risk of wildfires due to dry landscapes.

The effects of drought on the development and growth of livestock and crops are increasing. Deficiency can affect livestock, crops like fruits and vegetables, nuts, and medicinal plants. In conjunction with the high temperatures, drought can make it more difficult to control the spread of bugs and diseases affecting livestock, crops, and livestock.

Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming

The 2012 drought was severe and afflicted 80 percent of the land used for agriculture across the United States, which accounted for two-thirds of the states designated as disaster zones.

The year 2015 saw $1.84 billion of sales lost, 10,000 seasonal jobs were eliminated, and 8.7 million acres of water were lost.

Modern sprinkler technology, such as sprinkler systems and Low-energy Precision Application (LEPA) sprinklers with nozzles lower than the ground, reduce the amount of runoff from sprinklers and water waste.


When there is a drought, and the water levels in rivers, as well as other waterways, are low ports and water transportation operations could be restricted because of the shortage of waterways available, and a cargo capacity of 9 feet of water is needed for vessels to transport cargo. It leads to increased costs of transportation.

Drought and high temperatures could disrupt train operations, cause damage to runways and roads, and disrupt rail lines.

In 2018, transport across the Rhine was disrupted due to low water levels. Industrial production in Germany fell by 1.5 percent.

Public Health:

Drought is responsible for 15% of all global catastrophes, while 59% of deaths due to extreme weather events are drought-related deaths.

Insufficient drinking water supply and poor quality drinking water: It can affect air quality, sanitation, hygiene, food, and nutrition.

Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming

Other diseases, like the West Nile virus, are transmitted by mosquitoes that breed in shallow waters. A study published in 2013 revealed that the deficiency of water supply could have significant effects, causing an increase in the risk of diseases like conjunctivitis, diarrhea, and scabies. It is especially noticeable in countries with poor water supply.

The drought also stops the spreading of harmful chemicals associated with runoff, sewage, and animal waste. It builds up in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other underground water sources and rises as the water level are reduced.

Therefore, it is possible to take measures to minimize negative impacts before and during the drought. It is, therefore, crucial to work towards more effective planning, mitigation, adaptation, and mitigation strategies.


The prolonged, intense, and frequent droughts result in the removal of species native to the area, changes in carbon water levels, nutrients, expansion of invasive species, and destruction of the biodiversity.

Drought- The Ultimate Consequence of Global Warming
Drought condition in Kenya to persist

The wildlife habitat can be destroyed due to poor soil quality, an insufficient water supply can impact the growth of plants, and there needs to be drinking water available for animals. It could result in stress on endangered species and biodiversity decline in the affected region.

The extent of crop losses across the UK was the highest in 2002, 2013, and 2016-2019.


Drought can cause various consequences that touch different industries, including massive crop failures, food shortages, and transportation disruptions. Businesses and governments must be aware of the vulnerability of drought and work to build resilience. It is essential to study the impact of drought on animals, plants, ecosystems, and communities. Help develop strategies to manage water under the conditions of drought.

Author: Mahvish ShamimHi, I am Mahvish Shamim. A chemist, and content writer. I love working with WordPress and doing it the right way. Also passionate about spreading awareness about the environmental crisis. Through my skills, I will deliver high-quality work.

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