NEW Special Issue on Drought. Science magazine
Drought “is the death of the earth,” wrote the poet T. S. Eliot. A lack of water withers crops, kills trees, and dries up streams and lakes. Humans have long tried to cope by migrating to wetter regions or inventing new ways of moving water to where it is needed, including by pumping it out of the ground. But as human populations grow, climate change takes hold, and groundwater supplies shrink, droughts pose an increasingly complex challenge to people and the environment.
This special issue examines the science and social impacts of droughts—past, present, and future. Review articles assess our current knowledge of the causes of drought and consequences for forests and soils, how drought relates to political conditions, and options for improving drought resistance in crops. Additionally, three News Features highlight drought's influence on the rise and fall of an ancient South American empire, California's efforts to restore its depleted groundwater, and researchers' methods for predicting the famines that droughts sometimes bring.
Drought is defined by the absence of life-giving water. Some scholars believe that the forbidding presence of a drought that struck the United Kingdom in 1921 helped inspire Eliot's repeated allusions to water and drought in his poetry. That year, less than 260 millimeters of precipitation—one of the lowest levels ever recorded—fell in parts of England, prompting the writer to reflect on a natural force that has long shaped our planet.
- Dry times By David Malakoff, Andrew Sugden Science17 Apr 2020 : 254-255
- The hunger forecast By Paul Voosen. How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world's leading famine prediction model
- Deep deficit By Erik Stokstad. Droughts highlighted California's unsustainable use of groundwater. Now, the state is trying to refill its aquifers.
- Engineering an empire By Lizzie Wade. Ingenious water management helped the ancient Wari state expand throughout the Andes. Why couldn't it survive a drought?
- Review. On the essentials of drought in a changing climate By Toby R. Ault
- Hanging by a thread? Forests and drought By Timothy J. Brodribb, Jennifer Powers, Hervé Cochard, Brendan Choat
- The physiology of plant responses to drought By Aditi Gupta, Andrés Rico-Medina, Ana I. Caño-Delgado
- Harnessing rhizosphere microbiomes for drought-resilient crop production By Franciska T. de Vries, Rob I. Griffiths, Christopher G. Knight, Oceane Nicolitch, Alex Williams
- The effects of drinking water service fragmentation on drought-related water security By Megan Mullin
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