chapter  5
45 Pages

The Scope of Drought Impacts

There is a long history of the role of drought in human affairs around the world. Droughts have been recognized at various scales over time and space, with evidence provided from North America, Australia, Africa and China. Crop harvests may reflect droughts but often many other factors as well, again including human mismanagement in the form of excessive demands upon the environment for moisture. The scenarios cover the human versus nature conflicts with variable outcomes, and range from regional impacts on farms and pastoral stations up to science fiction accounts of doomsday global droughts. In 2009, focusing upon the United Kingdom, the Climate Projections confirmed that the country is likely to see hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters coupled with more frequent extreme weather such as flooding, heatwaves and droughts in the future. For scientists, however, the investigation of droughts has been far from humorous.