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WikiProject Environment / Climate change  (Rated C-class, High-importance)
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Drought:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Cleanup : Article's a little list heavy - More than half the text is in bullet points and numbered lists. Can be cleared up by expansion. The list content does work well in current format.
  • Expand : Add sections of prose covering impact of historical droughts, history of its observation, and the effect of those observations on the formation of meteorological science. See WP Meteorology guidelines.
  • Other : Develop small summary sections of the larger and more well written pieces with {{main}}, moving the Drought in X links out of /* See also */ and into the article text. Should allow for prose expansion.


"The most famous example of this was seen in the dustbowl of the 1920s and 1930s, when entire districts of the American Great Plains..."

How can we possibly justify saying that the most famous drought in the history of the world was the dustbowl?! I understand that it's probably the drought that Americans think of first, but let's just take the Southern African drought of 2003 as an example... I think that that one's probably better known around the world. What about the current drought in Southwest China's Yunnan Province?

No, I think we need to edit this... strike that. I'm going to edit this. This comment should simply be seen as documentation of my reasons.... -Harmil 00:40, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

It is badly America-centric again. I'm changing the opening paragraph. Add your parochial stories to the article. Don't hijack the whole thing. --Grinning Idiot 17:26, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

If anything, your edit here: made the article more Amerocentric than it had been before. Calling the Dust Bowl the "worst" drought in history and saying that it more than any other drought, including the well-known Ethiopian droughts in the 80s and the drought from 1869 to 1876 in China killed ~26 times as many people as the Dust Bowl displaced. Furthermore, note that the article has been largely focused on the meteorological phenomenon itself and that it has dealt with its impact on society in much more general terms. I am at a loss to imagine why Grinning Idiot is complaining about Amerocentrism at this date. MrZaiustalk 19:11, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry MrZaius but you missed the joke. Big time. I thought I had made it transparent. So back to my point - I don't think a reference to an American drought in the opening paragraph is appropriate considering the pain that has been suffered world-wide as a result of insufficient rainfall. Everybody will always say their drought is worse than anybody else's. Can we make the intro and body of the article geographically neutral and name various droughts in a seperate section? --Grinning Idiot 15:17, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Honestly, I think it's better to have a couple of short references to specific droughts rather than let the article revert into an incomplete list of all major droughts. That was my intent in replacing the preexisting examples with the two links in the intro as both of those can be used to clearly illustrate specific points covered later in the article and both are noteworthy enough to have developed large, developsdeuhywecahu sdhaju sdihc ed articles. Per your concerns, though, I went ahead and toned down both and inserted a short third, while moving all of them to a seperate paragraph and out of the first introductory paragraph. I believe they still work well as specific examples and, hopefully, they'll still help to prevent the resurgence of a bunch of unsourced one-liners about specific droughts from appearing at the end of the article. Does that adequately deal with the issue?
On a side note, the 'joke' was no more poorly or well written than the half-crazed rants that most of us have to revert on a regular basis. I tend to turn off my sense of sarcasm as soon as I log into the wiki. Of course, note that you'd be better off spelling the point out clearly in the talk page from the start than temporarily damaging the article. MrZaiustalk 15:50, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
The problem with fame is that it is negotiable. Was there a need to use the word?

In fact, there is no reason t make comparatives or speculation. Such comments are amateur.

Weatherlawyer (talk) Yeah - fair enough. Just trying to make a point but it may have been somewhat against the rules. Won't do it again. I am still a little frustrated that I tried to do something about this article and suddenly people are interested after it being neglected for so long. Moving along, I agree with the changes made. However, I still think it would be a good idea to list (and link to) serious droughts worldwide by region (not just a couple like before - really try to compile a good thorough list). It would need discussion and may take time but I would be interested to have this info at my fingertips (if the effects of drought as listed in the article are true then wouldn't a lot of historical events be at least partially explained by drought?). I also think this article still needs to be greatly expanded before it is up to standard. Don't you agree?--Grinning Idiot 14:49, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

In terms of pace, I'd say we're doing alright/that things are going apace. Neither of us took much note of this article prior to April, and, by halfway through the month, we'd completely rewritten it. That's a decent turnaround on the Wikipedia, for a relatively inactive article. It's far stronger now than before. On the topic of the list, I'd still be hesitant to let it develop within the article, but there's no reason not to start a List of major droughts if you're interested. Like you said earlier, "everybody will always say their drought," so any list of droughts will never cease to grow, even though one can never be exhaustive. Hosting it in the article itself will eventually result in the list dominating the article and distracting readers from it, much like the list of test tracks in the Maglev train article. Barring the need for a few more references, do you have any other specific points you feel we ought to cover? MrZaiustalk 05:47, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Also note that there seems to be a precedent for creating articles about drought in Australia, drought in India, etc. and that continuing in that vein might be more effective, as it would allow for a more effective discussion about the relationship between the droughts in any given biome or nation and the changes in the way their governments react to such disasters. Also of interest: List of notable floods. MrZaiustalk 05:50, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm no meteorologist, and have no knowledge on the subject, but a History section would be nice, and seems to be all we're missing according to the WP: "For a type of weather, phenomenon, or theory, this should include a history of its observation, a description of the phenomenon, and its significance.". The science had to come from somewhere. MrZaiustalk 07:03, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
A list is what a lot of people come to Wikipedia for. Then they can make their own decisions about comparisons. The worst thing that can happen here is that we get enmeshed in climatology. There is so much abuse floating around the big endiun/smallendiun controversey without it taking root here.
"2005 study by Australian and American researchers investigated the desertification of the interior, and suggested that one explanation was related to human settlers who arrived about 50,000 years ago. Regular burning by these settlers could have prevented monsoons from reaching interior Australia.[31]"
Seems to fly in the face of any sensible research. Since Australia lies in the doldrums it is only to be expected it would have long drought periods. I don't believe that aboriginals tore down trees or introduced unsustainable farming policies. Did they?

Weatherlawyer (talk) 15:20, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Having said that, any mention of climate change and global warming on this page is going to need references. Really credible ones.--Grinning Idiot 15:02, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Done. Note that the only mention the article currently makes is that there is "speculation" that drought will increase in frequency and disproportionally effect the developing world. Might warrant expansion. MrZaiustalk 08:06, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
"Speculation" is in the opening paragraph that assumes "global warming" as fact rather than theory! Drought is fact! Has been going on for thousands of years. Not "might warrant expansion" - might warrant being moved to a minor paragraph or are you not interested in this article being taken seriously? This is supposed to be a factual reference! Are you serious about this???--Grinning Idiot 15:07, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, on another read I think the global warming reference regarding agriculture is disgustingly political and should be removed. Drought is not a political football. It has killed millions over a great many years. Please keep this article apolitical.--Grinning Idiot 15:29, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
You're contradicting yourself again. Prior to its reversion, you had removed sourced and common notions from the article, and, in doing so, removed nearly all of the coverage we have to point on causes of drought. The "political" statement about links between global warming reflects information from several articles that link here, and was introduced to add a level of coherency to the Wikipedia. To be blunt, the closest thing to an attempt at politicization of the article is the vitriolic and somewhat rude rant above. Please note that I have made over 40 edits to this article this month, greatly expanding its reach with the WP:WIAGA in mind. Please moderate your tone and make some attempt at civility in future remarks. MrZaiustalk 22:39, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe I am being rude (nor contradicting myself). I am being assertive. You can do all you want to this article but we both know nothing would have happened if I had not already tried to improve it myself. I have admitted when I did/said something wrong. I have also given credit to ideas that would improve WP but as yet nobody wants to discuss these. To be blunt, the closest thing to politicization of this article is pushing climate change as a factor worthy of the introductory paragraph. (See below)--Grinning Idiot 15:44, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I think you are right that the list of droughts shouldn't be in the drought article itself or it would get out of control. I agree with a separate article listing. This could be good.--Grinning Idiot 15:17, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

Not a single mention of the African droughts? People are currently dying there because they dont have adequate supplies, such as water. I really wish I had greater information on this so that I could include it. If anyone else does, please include it. It's very important to show that time to help Africa is now. This article could provide such a service. As well, are there any NGOs that may be worth adding to the bottom of the article as an external link? Lincoln187 08:33, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

This article is not up to standard[edit]

It appears to be incomplete. It is poorly laid out (it looks like an unfinished school assignment). It has no references. It provides virtually zero information. In its current form it is about as useful as a blown fuse. I recommend a general tidy-up of the page, more (referenced) info on the causes and consequences of drought (especially economic and social), more info on and/or links to articles concerning past droughts in various regions and a serious look at how to deal with drought (the provided strategies do not even mention sourcing more water and the economic impact of doing so). I also find it interesting that the article places such little emphasis on "meteorological drought" without providing any reason or references. Without these improvements I am of the opinion this article should be scrapped. This article has been on wikipedia for too long to be in the condition it is. I am happy to contribute but at the moment it requires a total re-write and I have neither the information nor the article editing experience. --Grinning Idiot 23:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

OK. So having had no feedback from you lot and having done some research I have determined that this article has obtained most of its info from the website of the "National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln". ( There really should be a reference to this site somewhere. Since there has been no feedback from anyone, I am going to commence a rewrite of this article. I would appreciated some assistance if anybody has some expertise (as I said above I don't know what I'm talking about). My plan is to reduce the emphasis on the academic influence ("Conceptually, there are three main....") and get back to practical, real-life drought information. I think we need the following sections:


So what do we think? Can anyone give me some feedback here?--Grinning Idiot 13:40, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

This guy called Larry West seems to agree with the different types of drought theory ( I don't know who started it but I know 2 things for sure:

  • Meteorological, Agricultural, and Hydrological drought are all mentioned in the same order
  • Dictionaries disagree - and so do I. A drought is a drought. A water shortage is not a drought - it's a water shortage. If you can't manage your water then don't call it a drought - call it poor water management!

So from this I have concluded that the only type of drought is a meteorological one - therefore I will focus on rainfall. I'm just trying to fix an article in very bad shape here so feel free to help. Anyone?--Grinning Idiot 13:53, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Three cheers to the moron who merged my intro with the old one.

  • Hip - Hooray
  • Hip - Hooray
  • Hip - Hooraaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.


Calm down, Grinning Idiot. If you hadn't inserted self references and removed all links from the introduction, your edits to the intro probably would have stood without contest. Also note that the Meteorological, Agricultural, Hydrological terminology was in chronological order. The United States federal government's NOAA explains the cycle here:
PS, that document should be public domain, so we can use it as a basis for a rewrite if we choose to do so. Per your comment about dictionaries, please keep in mind that the dictionary is not nearly so strong a source as peer-reviewed publications, popular media, or government sources when trying to flesh out a complete encyclopedia article. On a final note, please note that, having seen your comments only this morning, to only allow an hour for a meaningful response before firing off the all-caps cursing tirade seems counter-productive. Restoring the drought cycle and will work on clarifying the wording & source. MrZaiustalk 21:11, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

OK I'm calm - but I give up. At the very least I hope I have raised awareness over the poor state of this article. It should be pages long with multiple references. I'm butting out now - might do some minor edits later if I have something juicy but can't be stuffed re-writing when nobody wants to help. But just about the dictionary: I looked at two well-regarded hard copy dictionaries (as well as 4 on-line ones). I don't think the job of an encyclopedia is to redefine accepted definitions. --Grinning Idiot 13:02, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

OK - Let's get serious about drought!!![edit]

I have continually tried to get this article working. People have pretented to help. Millions have died in the past because of drought. Millions more probably will. Keep the bloody politics out of it!!!!!!! --Grinning Idiot 16:54, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Response:Please clarify why you feel that the section you were blanking is inappropriate for this article. It seems to me to be well documented and clearly relevant. --Kukini hablame aqui 22:54, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

This article is supposed to be about the FACT that is known as drought. Global warming is a theory and should be treated as such - even if it is true. The following is from and

  • Researchers have linked the collapse of the world's first great empire - the Akkadians in Mesopotamia - to a 300-year drought that started about 4,200 years ago.
  • Droughts also have been blamed for the disappearance of several pre-Inca civilizations in South America, as well as the Mayans of Central America.
  • Between 1895 and 1903 drought killed half of the sheep in Australia, and the number of cattle was reduced by 40%.
  • A recent U.S. government study showed that droughts as severe as that of the 1930s Dust Bowl have occurred as frequently as twice per century over the last 300 to 400 years.

I am very concerned that Wikipedia is becoming a soapbox. It is supposed to be an online encyclopedia. I think we need a section in this article that deals with the potential effects of climate change but not in the introduction. There is so much more that could be added to this article and nobody is interested! Where are the facts? I want to know how many people have been killed by drought in the last century. I want to know which regions are particularly vulnerable. Climate change does not belong in the opening paragraph. You know this to be true and I am not going to let it go. Drought has been around forever and climate change has not. This is a test of wikipedia's credibility.--Grinning Idiot 15:16, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Grinning Idiot: "Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis. In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology. " [1]. Also, climate change has "been around forever". See Climate change, and pay special attention to the section titled "Non-climate factors driving climate change". With the questions you pose above about information not yet in the article, just answer them yourself and put 'em in the article already. Considering kilobytes of diatribe and venom you've dumped in the talk page, it's time you made a valid and sourced contribution or two to the article proper, without removing the sourced and well-written data therein. Why on earth didn't you just source all four of your bullet points about the impact of drought and drop them into the article proper? Nearly all of the edits you've made to this article to point have been to remove widely accepted and well sourced information, rather than doing anything truly productive (with the welcome exception of the edits on April 28th). On a side note, I repeat my request that you try to be halfway civil in your comments here. MrZaiustalk 15:39, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Not kilobytes of venom. Frustration and alienation would be more correct. I really wanted to do something with this article. I had no malevolent intent. Wikipedia is becoming a bureaucracy - incapable of self-criticism. The WP rules are perfect and almighty. But all I see is clever manipulation of knowledge. Viva "1984".--Grinning Idiot 15:58, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

PS: Wikipedia:Etiquette & Wikipedia:Consensus are a joke. They are nothing more than a weapon used against those you disagree with. I gave the points above to illustrate my concern with the intro and you used them against me. You are not interested in fact. I have just about had enough. --Grinning Idiot 16:05, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Let me say this. You need to be just a little more civil here and assume good faith on behalf of other editors here. The only reason I'm here right now is, as an admin, I was requested by another administrator to look into your revert-warring. Rather than blocking you for being way over the mark (as indeed you were), I decided to give you a chance. In return, you made veiled accusations that I and others are "book burners". Right now, your interpretation of "etiquette" and "consensus" leave a whole lot to be desired. Please take this opportunity to work with others here instead of complaining - Alison 19:25, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

AGF? I'd be driving down that street if only it was 2-way. My revert-warring was a mistake. I have made a few. However, I find your mention of the word "blocked" a little worrying. All I ever wanted was to work with others. I posted on the discussion page. Again. And again. And again. The only time I knew anybody was listening was when the changes I made to the article got wiped within 15mins. I really wanted to do something with this page but the floor got pulled from underneath me. I kept trying. I will try no more. Do what you will. It is a shame that this is not as respectable a knowledge source as I once thought it was. The last thing I say on this discussion page will be "Drought and climate change are two separate issues". --Grinning Idiot 12:21, 3 May 2007 (UTC) Okay what is all this i dot even know what will happen if i write this.

It's a funny, funny world[edit]

Where I have to deal with the likes of Alison while getting the point across, on an article that is sub-standard, and then see requests on wikipedia for that article to be improved in the way that I was vilified for requesting such improvements in the first place. --Grinning Idiot 17:06, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Human-triggered erosion[edit]

The sourced comments on erosion should stand - Please do not remove sourced material from the article without consensus on the talk page. If we do move it out of the lead and into the body, please keep in mind that it would still be advisable to include cursory mention of in the introduction, given how short this article is and the prominence of the topic. MrZaiustalk 15:04, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

The intro should be solid fact. It should be relevant to all interested parties. Climate change and erosion are of no interest to the farmer who hasn't seen decent rain in 3 years, when drought is a natural cyclical feature of that region. Basic meteorology is not even touched on, yet humans are to blame for drought? Bullshit. I don't disagree with the idea that humans can influence the weather, but that doesn't mean that the history of the earth should be simplified in this article. The intro should be about the natural phenomenon known as reduced rainfall - theories and factors should be in the body. --Grinning Idiot 16:30, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
For the nth time, using language like that really doesn't help. If I felt strongly enough about my comment above to do more than just discuss it on the talk page, it would be back in the LEAD by now. Again, see WP:CIVIL. Might also check out WP:LEAD and strong introductions in various Wikipedia:Featured Articles. Don't need to flesh the lead out much atm, given the size of the article, but it'd be nice to be topical and cover the bits that are in the news now and again, ie the climate change links, and expand on them to the point where they warrant coverage in the lead, along with a half dozen other topics. If you have the expertise to expand the article rather than just nitpick here and complain about others attempts to do so, then do it. It'd be great to have a coverage of the history of the study of drought, to drop some relevant names, etc. MrZaiustalk 17:44, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for referring me to WP:CIVIL again. The more I read it, the more I understand how the admins cleverly skirt around it. Anyway...
I have said from the start (as you know from a while back MrZaius) that I am lacking in expertise with regard to writing/expanding articles and could do with some help. But I will see what I can find and have a shot within the next week. You understand that a vandal would not waste as much time as I have. I value your feedback. Apologies for the language.--Grinning Idiot 17:12, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Global warming centric[edit]

"According to a UN climate report, the Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of Asia's biggest rivers - Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Yellow - could disappear by 2035 as temperatures rise.[4] Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers.[5] India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. Drought in India affecting the Ganges is of particular concern, as it provides drinking water and agricultural irrigation for more than 500 million people.[6][7][8]"

Why is this article focusing on global warming and a potential drought? Why not focus on past droughts that have happened and how instrument it can be in war et al? Surely this should be in the global warming article and not a general one about drought? I've removed it, but no doubt someone will put it back in - 00:33, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

The thoroughly sourced material in that single paragraph did not result in a "global warming-centric" article. It would be great to have more coverage of other droughts, but the other information was in no way inappropriate and, given its brevity and importance, was restored. Note that the Meteorology WikiProject flagging this as a stub/start class article acknowledges that several points are missing or underdeveloped. If you'd like to help grow the article, that would be a much more appropriate solution to the issues of balance that you describe. MrZaiustalk 03:23, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course it does. Why talk about such drought which may or may not happen in this article? It comes out of nowhere and has absolutely no context - in an article about Global Warming it'd be appropriate, or even the individual rivers, here it isn't. It's an absolutely appalling example in every way that does not belong in this article. Give examples of droughts that have happened, of which there are plenty, not predictions of ones that /may/ happen in the future, as it's not relevant. Adding content with sources is good, as long as it's relevant, which that paragraph definitely isn't. What does it add to the article? It's cruft of the worst sort - an obscure fact placed in the middle of a barely relevant article. And why bother contributing if it seems you aren't happy to accept other people's fully justified contributions to an utterly dreadful article, and all you seem to do is revert even after a full explanation on a talk page? - 20:33, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
In what way is it obscure? I'm afraid I don't understand your arguments: The thoroughly sourced information discussing drought in the context of UN reports and international law is highly appropriate. Add more specific examples if you have them - The Drought in X country articles would be a great place to start. Again, please do not remove sourced verifiable content. It's one paragraph, and in no way gives undue weight to its topic. MrZaiustalk 17:57, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion it is important to explain when over all world temperatures cool there is more dry air which results in less rain and over all more drought. The article says this conversely which would indicates an propaganda for human-induced Global Warming. This article isn't about global warming it is about droughts take your propaganda someplace else.
--OxAO (talk) 20:49, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
The reliable sources in the article support the connection between climate change and increase in droughts. Your opinion that this is "an propaganda for human-induced Global Warming" is not supported by such sources. - SummerPhD (talk) 01:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Just a quick edit[edit]

Just noticed this: Causes Once upon a time there were three f**** dudesthan oceanic air masses (ie. reduced water content) in the the droughts section, thought id just mention it so someone can fix it up. I would - but hey im not even old enough to understand half of whats on that page :p —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Arable Land Lost to Drought[edit]

Maybe I am understanding this wrong, but a quick calculation of arable land in the world (roughly 11% of area) compared to the statement that "fertile land roughly the size of Ukraine is lost every year" seems a little out of sorts. That would suggest that in 25 years there would be none left, assuming fertile land = arable land. I am extremely skeptical of "everything will be gone in roughly 20 years" statements, since they always seem to turn out wrong. Ignignot (talk) 20:17, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

requested semi-protection[edit]

FYI I have requested semi-protection against all the IP vandals NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:04, 7 November 2012 (UTC)


Silver padlock
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This page has been semi-protected for ten days from today. Semi-protection prevents edits from unregistered users (IP addresses), as well as edits from any account that is not autoconfirmed (is at least four days old and has at least ten edits to Wikipedia) or confirmed.

Such users can request edits to a semi-protected page by proposing them on its talk page, using the {{Edit semi-protected}} template if necessary to gain attention. If the page in question and this talk page are both protected please make your edit request at Wikipedia:Request for edit instead. New users may also request the confirmed user right by visiting Requests for permissions. Wifione Message 01:20, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

"Causes" section very poorly cited[edit]

The "Causes" section is extremely poorly documented. There is little to no documentation in the first and arguably most important paragraph. It badly needs to be fixed. Battleghost (talk) 01:26, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Global phenomenon?[edit]

I don't think it is. --Fev 04:19, 14 February 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fev (talkcontribs)

That phrase could have been read to mean different things and I have already tweaked the article to remove it NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 10:56, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Recent improvement[edit]

I just ran across this article, and understand the previous pleas for help over previous years. The sections of the article have been placed in a more logical order. Segments of existing C, good, and featured articles relating to drought, erosion, and dry season (with their supporting references) were included where they seemed to be appropriate. The gallery is being slowly deconstructed with the images within it fitting on the right of the lengthening article -- article size has increased 20%. Thegreatdr (talk) 01:35, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Much improved, thanks! NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 09:30, 18 February 2015 (UTC)