Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Remote Sensing of Drought: Innovative Monitoring Approaches, Edited by Brian D. Wardlow, Martha C. Anderson, & James P. Verdin (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, 2012), pp ix–xii.


Copyright © 2012 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Drought is a normal part of the climate for virtually all climatic regimes. It is a complex, slow-onset phenomenon that affects more people than any other natural hazard and results in serious economic, social, and environmental impacts. Drought affects both developing and developed countries, but in substantially different ways. Society’s ability to manage droughts more effectively in the future is contingent upon a paradigm shift—moving from a crisis management to a risk-based management approach directed at increasing the coping capacity or resilience of nations to deal effectively with extended periods of water shortage.

In 2005, I edited a book for CRC Press, Drought and Water Crises: Science, Technology, and Management Issues. The goal of this book series is to expand on the theme of the 2005 book by providing new information and innovative approaches to drought monitoring and early warning systems, mitigation, planning, and policy and the linkages between these challenges and important natural resources and environmental issues such as climate change, including increased climate variability, water scarcity, food security, desertification, transboundary water-related conflicts, and water management, to name just a few. There is an increasing demand for more information from scientists, natural resource managers, and policy makers on issues related to these challenges that are at the intersection of drought and water management issues as pressure on the world’s finite water resources intensifies.