Did You Know?
Drought vs. Aridity
When discussing drought, one must have an understanding of aridity and the difference between the two. Aridity is defined, in meteorology and climatology, as "the degree to which a climate lacks effective, life-promoting moisture" (Glossary of Meteorology, American Meteorological Society). Drought is "a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently long enough to cause a serious hydrological imbalance". Aridity is measured by comparing long-term average water supply (precipitation) to long-term average water demand (evapotranspiration). If demand is greater than supply, on average, then the climate is arid. Drought refers to the moisture balance that happens on a month-to-month (or more frequent) basis. If the water supply is less than water demand for a given month, then that month is abnormally dry; if there is a serious hydrological impact, then a drought is occurring that month. Aridity is permanent, while drought is temporary.