Namias, Jerome Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.
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A period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged so that the lack of water causes a serious hydrologic imbalance, such as crop damage or water-supply shortage, in the affected area. Droughts (Fig. 1) often have devastating economic, social, and environmental impacts, resulting in income loss for farmers, damage to wildlife habitats, forest fires, freshwater shortages, malnutrition, and mass migration. In general, droughts occur over relatively extensive periods and areas. In addition, more extensive and longer-lasting droughts are among the hydrological consequences of global climate change. See also: Agricultural meteorology; Extreme weather events; Forest fire; Hydrological consequences of global warming; Hydrology; Malnutrition; Water resources
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