Meteorological Drought (Accepted by the AMS Council 2 February 1997) Drought has been a common feature of the Ameri- in structural damage. For these reasons the quantifi- can landscape during the past several decades. These cation of impacts and the provision of disaster relief droughts have resulted in significant economic, en- is a far more arduous task than it is for other natural vironmental, and social impacts, underscoring our hazards. continuing and possibly increasing vulnerability to Drought is a normal, recurring feature of climate; this natural hazard. Drought should not be viewed as it occurs in virtually all climatic regimes. It is a tem- merely a physical phenomenon. It is the result of an porary aberration, in contrast to aridity, which is a interplay between a natural event (precipitation defi- permanen t feature of regional climate. Drought ciencies due to natural climatic variability on vary- should be considered relative to some long-term av- ing timescales) and the demand placed on water erage condition of balance between precipitation and supply by human-use systems. Drought is among the evapotranspiration (ET) in a particular area, a condi- most complex and least understood of all natural haz- tion often perceived as "normal." Common
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: May 1, 1997
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