Worldwide Droughts: Listing of Global Events & Economic Loss

Global Drought Review includes a select listing of global events that resulted in >USD 100mn in economic loss and/or >10 fatalities. It does not include a listing of aggregated loss totals from agencies which are not easily attributed to an individual event.

Worldwide Droughts in 2022

Event NameDateRegionEconomic Losses
   (USD mn)
Horn of Africa DroughtApril 1—Dec. 31Africa2,008
China DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Asia6,070
Austria DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe125
Croatia DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe132
France DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe8,000
Hungary DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe1,220
Italy DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe6,200
Slovakia DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe150
Spain DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Europe10,130
Argentina DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Latin America2,000
Brazil DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Latin America18,000
Mexico DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31Latin America603
Canada DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31North America1,000
US DroughtJan. 1–Dec. 31North America21,000
Source: Beinsure by Gallagher Re

A drought is defined as drier than normal conditions. This means that a drought is “a moisture deficit relative to the average water availability at a given location and season”. A drought can last for days, months or years.

Drought often exerts substantial impacts on the ecosystems and agriculture of affected regions, and causes harm to the local economy.

Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent wildfires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour.

Worldwide Droughts: Listing of Global Events & Economic Loss

Drought is a recurring feature of the climate in most parts of the world, becoming more extreme and less predictable due to climate change, which dendrochronological studies date back to 1900.

There are three kinds of drought effects, environmental, economic and social.

  • Environmental effects include the drying of wetlands, more and larger wildfires, loss of biodiversity.
  • Economic consequences include disruption of water supplies for municipal economies; lower agricultural, forest, game, and fishing outputs; higher food-production costs; and problems with water supply for the energy sector.
  • Social and health costs include the negative effect on the health of people directly exposed to this phenomenon (excessive heat waves), high food costs, stress caused by failed harvests, water scarcity, etc. Prolonged droughts have caused mass migrations and humanitarian crisis.

Many plant species, such as those in the family Cactaceae (or cacti), have drought tolerance adaptations like reduced leaf area and waxy cuticles to enhance their ability to tolerate drought. Some others survive dry periods as buried seeds. Semi-permanent drought produces arid biomes such as deserts and grasslands. Most arid ecosystems have inherently low productivity.

The most prolonged drought ever in the world in recorded history continues in the Atacama Desert in Chile (400 years). Throughout history, humans have usually viewed droughts as “disasters” due to the impact on food availability and the rest of society. Humans have often tried to explain droughts as either a natural disaster, caused by humans, or the result of supernatural forces.

Will we have a hot summer 2023?

The return of the El Niño climate phenomenon later this year will cause global temperatures to rise “off the chart” and deliver unprecedented heatwaves, scientists have warned. Even absent climate change, there’s a very high chance the drought would last through 2023; in 94 percent of their simulations, it goes on through next year, and in 33 percent of their simulations it lasts all the way to 2030.

Were there worldwide droughts in 2022?

It was a year characterized by extreme drought. From North America to Africa to Europe to Asia, huge swaths of the planet were parched in 2022. Lakes and rivers in several countries shrank to extreme lows and dry conditions threatened crops and fueled destructive wildfires across the globe.

Was 2022 the driest year on record?

The last three years have been a period of persistently dry and hot conditions. Taken together, 2020-2022 ranks as the third driest and fourth warmest such 3-year period in the 1895-2022 historical record, regionwide. In 2022, the year started out warmer and drier than normal.

Has 2022 been a dry year?

Drought. The Met Office said rainfall between January and June 2022 was the lowest since 1976, giving England its driest start to the year for 46 years.

Will 2022 be the hottest year yet?

NOAA’s methodology found 2022 to be the sixth-warmest year on record since 1880 and NASA’s methodology found it to be the fifth warmest, tied with 2015. According to both NOAA and NASA scientists, global temperatures were about 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above their respective baseline averages in the 20th century.

Is the whole world experiencing drought?

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Global Drought 2022
Bottom line: Drought is crippling many regions of the world in 2022, from the US and Europe to China and the Horn of Africa.

Is Europe still in drought 2022?

The summer of 2022 saw Europe’s worst drought in 500 years. A combination of record-breaking temperatures and low rainfall caused rivers to dry, wildfires to rage and crop failures to compound already high food prices.