Drought : Past Problems and Future Scenarios book cover
1st Edition

Past Problems and Future Scenarios

ISBN 9781849710824
Published June 27, 2011 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Drought is one of the likely consequences of climate change in many regions of the world. Together with an increased demand for water resources to supply the world's growing population, it represents a potentially disastrous threat to water supplies, agriculture and food production, leading to famine and environmental degradation. Yet predicting drought is fraught with difficulty.

The aim of this book is to provide a review of the historical occurrence of global drought, particularly during the twentieth century and assess the likely potential changes over the twenty-first century under climate change. This includes documentation of the occurrence and impacts of major twentieth century drought events and analysis of the contributing climatic and environmental factors that act to force, prolong and dissipate drought. Contemporary drought is placed in the context of climate variability since the last ice age, including the many severe and lengthy drought events that contributed to the demise of great civilizations, the disappearance of lakes and rivers, and the conversion of forests to deserts.

The authors discuss the developing field of drought monitoring and seasonal forecasting and describe how this is vital for identifying emerging droughts and for providing timely warning to help reduce the impacts. The book provides a broad overview of large scale drought, from historic events such as the US Dust Bowl and African Sahel, and places this in the context of climate variability and change. The work is soundly based on detailed research that has looked at drought occurrence over the twentieth century, global drought monitoring, modeling and seasonal prediction, and future projections from climate models.

Table of Contents

Preface  1. Introduction  2. What is Drought?  3. The Science of Drought  4. Quantifying Drought  5. Paleo-Drought: The Occurrence of Drought over Past Millennia  6. Drought in the 20th Century  7. Major Drought Events of the 20th Century  8. Drought in the 21st Century  9. Summary and Recommendations.  Index

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Justin Sheffield is a research hydrologist at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA. He has a PhD in hydroclimatology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Dr. Sheffield has carried out research for the past 20 years in the UK and USA on a wide range of hydrologic problems, including the interaction of hydrology with climate variability and change, the characterization of hydrologic extremes, and the use of computer models and remote sensing data to understand the global water and energy cycles. Eric F. Wood is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1976. He received a ScD in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests include hydroclimatology with an emphasis on land atmosphere interactions, terrestrial remote sensing, and seasonal hydrologic prediction. Dr. Wood is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the American Geophysical Union, and a recent recipient of the European Geosciences Union's John Dalton Medal and the AMS's Jule Charney Award.


'This long awaited, comprehensive book on global drought will serve as a standard textbook for all researchers of drought study around the world for many decades.' Professor Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Director of UNESCO International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Tsukuba, Japan 'This is an extraordinarily important book. It will be helpful for our current studies on drought forecasting, monitoring, and impact assessment, as well as improving our strategy and policy on mitigating the losses caused by drought.' Professor Jiang Tong, Chief Scientist, National Climate Centre, China Meteorological Administration 'The authors have documented and summarised a huge amount of material regarding all aspects of droughts, and the result is well-targeted to their audience of students and practitioners of environmental science and management.' Professor Neville Nicholls, Monash University, and President, Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society 'I recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding the science of droughts: past, present, and future. The authors' engaging style puts this complex topic into a perfect text for students with multi-disciplinary backgrounds.' Professor Michael J. Hayes, Director, National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA 'This book provides a great and easily readable overview of the phenomenon of -large scale- drought with a strong emphasis on the last two centuries. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in drought.' Dr. ir. Peter J. van Oevelen, Director, International Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Project Office