Drought is a prolonged period of dry weather resulting in a severe lack of water. Drought causes serious problems such as crop damage or water supply issues. Importantly, drought can be classified in different ways and may mean different things in different regions. A hydrological or meteorological drought measures water or precipitation levels that are below normal for a given area, whereas an agricultural or socioeconomic drought refers to water that is insufficient to meet the needs of people or crops.
In summer 2021, air temperatures in Canada broke records multiple days in a row as a powerful heatwave spread over the Pacific Northwest, registering over 600 heat-related deaths and setting an all-time high-temperature record for the country at 49.6°C (121.3°F).
In summer 2021, drought and low humidity combined with record-breaking heat of up to 48.8°C (119.8°F) led to fire outbreaks across the Mediterranean countries, killing more than 100 people and burning more than 620,000 ha of land in July and August
Southern Madagascar’s worst drought in 40 years led to severe stress on vegetation, triggering a drastic decline in rice, maize and cassava production. By December 2021, more than 1.6 million people were estimated to have been suffering high levels of food insecurity.
During the 2020-2021 typhoon season, for the first time in 56 years, no typhoon made landfall on Taiwan, leading to one of the worst droughts in the island’s history. As reservoirs fell below 5% capacity, more than one million households and businesses had to ration water.
From March 2020 to September 2021, a herd of approximately 15 Asian elephants left their home in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve. Along their journey, the herd broke into homes, damaged buildings and infrastructure, and destroyed crops, totaling estimated damage of over $1 million.
In 2020 alone, an area of the Amazon forest burnt down that was larger than Fiji. While fire is often a natural process to manage vegetation, 9 out of 10 of the Amazon fires in 2020 were intentionally set to convert tropical rainforest into commercially used land.