Rainfall is usually related to the amount of vapor in the atmosphere, combined with the upward forcing of the air mass containing that water vapor. If either of these things are reduced, the result is drought.
It can be triggered by above average high pressure systems, winds carrying continental, rather than oceanic air masses (this reduces the water content), ridges of high pressure form with behaviors which prevent or restrict the developing of thunderstorm activity or rainfall over one certain region.
Oceanic or atmospheric weather cycles such as El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) make drought a regular recurring feature of the Americas along the Pacific coast and australia. Another climate oscillation known as the North Atlantic Oscillation has been tied to droughts in northeast Spain.
Human activity can trigger exacerbating factors such as over farming, excessive irrigation, deforestation and erosion which adversely impact the ability of the land to capture and hold water.
There is a really great new invention scientists have recently been using to help solve drought problems in areas affected by climate change where it normally doesn’t occur. It’s called ‘cloud seeding’.
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