Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version

May 2001


Published in Drought Network News Vol. 13, No. 1, Winter 2000–Spring 2001. Published by the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Arid ecosystems constitute an important part of the world’s dry climates. The Indian arid zone is characterized by a harsh and fragile system, which influences the productivity (both quantitative and qualitative) and socioeconomic status of the inhabitants. The study discussed in this article was conducted in the Bikaner region, which is one of the most drought-prone districts of Rajasthan (Figure 1). Annual rainfall in the district is 268 mm, of which 85% occurs during the southwest summer monsoon (July–September). The region is known to experience extreme variations in diurnal and seasonal temperatures and high wind velocity, particularly during summers, associated with high evaporative atmospheric demands. Skies tend to be clear (cloud free) in these regions throughout most of the year. Soils of the Bikaner region are characteristically light and sandy, with a high infiltration rate and <100 mm field capacity, and are prone to wind erosion. Cultivation of crops is a challenging task under prevailing hostile atmospheric situations and soil limitations.

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