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Rahul S. Todmal


In the prevailing climate change scenario, to cope with drought, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of meteorological droughts in water-scarce regions to formulate judicial plans for the utilization of water resources. The present investigation, therefore, endeavored to assess the intensity and frequency of droughts over the five semiarid river basins in Maharashtra during the past (1980–2013) and future (2015–50). The study was carried out with the application of standardized precipitation index (SPI) methodology. The agricultural and satellite [normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)] data were analyzed to understand the effects of meteorological droughts. Although the study area experienced three severe rainfall droughts in 1985/86, 2002/03, and 2011/12, higher frequency of low-intensity droughts is observed, particularly after 2000. The estimation suggests occurrence of moderate, severe, and extreme droughts once in 6, 28, and 50 years, respectively. Among the selected basins, the Agrani, the Karha, and the Man are expected to experience intense droughts and hence require special attention in drought management. The study also highlights that El Niño events considerably retard the monsoon rainfall. However, the occurrence of the positive phase of the Indian Ocean dipole in the El Niño years reduces the intensity of droughts. As agricultural productivity and cropped areas heavily depend on the monsoon rainfall, the meteorological droughts result in agricultural droughts. Moreover, the future warming (by 1.02°C) over the study area is very likely to exacerbate the meteorological droughts (estimated to occur in the 2030s) and increase the agricultural water demand, further adding to an already difficult water management challenge in the study basins.

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Mimi Stith, Alessandra Giannini, John del Corral, Susana Adamo, and Alex de Sherbinin


A spatial analysis is presented that aims to synthesize the evidence for climate and social dimensions of the “regreening” of the Sahel. Using an independently constructed archival database of donor-funded interventions in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal in response to the persistence of drought in the 1970s and 1980s, the spatial distribution of these interventions is examined in relation to population density and to trends in precipitation and in greenness. Three categories of environmental change are classified: 1) regions at the northern grassland/shrubland edge of the Sahel where NDVI varies interannually with precipitation, 2) densely populated cropland regions of the Sahel where significant trends in precipitation and NDVI decouple at interannual time scales, and 3) regions at the southern savanna edge of the Sahel where NDVI variation is independent of precipitation. Examination of the spatial distribution of environmental change, number of development projects, and population density brings to the fore the second category, covering the cropland areas where population density and regreening are higher than average. While few, regions in this category coincide with emerging hotspots of regreening in northern Burkina Faso and southern central Niger known from case study literature. In examining the impact of efforts to rejuvenate the Sahelian environment and livelihoods in the aftermath of the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s against the backdrop of a varying and uncertain climate, the transition from desertification to regreening discourses is framed in the context of adaptation to climate change.

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