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Drought is a natural hazard with far-reaching impacts that range from economic losses to loss of agriculture and livelihood. Drought can cause or exacerbate water, food, and national security hazards. The maps, tools, and resources on this page address drought conditions around the world.

Global Drought Conditions

Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Dry Conditions
Wet Conditions
Unfavorable Conditions
Favorable Conditions

Key Impacts of Drought around the Globe

Environmental Impacts
Droughts can compromise a wide range of ecosystem services, including provisioning services such as food, fuel, and freshwater; regulating services such as pollination and pest regulation; and support services such as soil fertility and nutrient cycling. Significant or persistent droughts may alter ecosystem functions and compromise ecosystem goods and services, resulting in diminished or damaged ecological functioning.

Economic Impacts
Droughts may result in significant, long-term economic losses in a range of sectors. Losses may be local to the drought-affected area or they may be widespread through economic value chains and by cascading losses to other sectors and the national or global economy. In some regions of the world, drought may cause or exacerbate food shortages and food insecurity, unemployment, poverty, inflation, conflict, and internal displacement or migration.

Cultural and Social Impacts
Cultural and social constructs underlie how water is perceived, valued, and managed in different societies. In many cultures and belief systems, water is strongly tied to cultural heritage and religious and spiritual practices. These may inform a social understanding of the causes and solutions for drought and may support communities in coping with drought. Further, drought impacts can vary in severity based on gender, ethnic group, religion, likelihood strategies, and other societal roles and vulnerabilities.

Health Impacts
Drought can cause significant human health impacts, and the socioeconomic environment in which drought occurs influences the resilience of affected populations. In poorer or marginalized communities, drought may exacerbate existing health disparities. Drought impacts on food production systems and agricultural value chains can contribute to nutritional deficiencies. Drought can also exacerbate gaps in sanitation and hygiene coverage and reliability, which may disproportionately affect women and girls when they are responsible for household water supply.

Featured International Drought Maps

Example Global Drought Information System Map.

Global Drought Monitor

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information

The Global Drought Information System (GDIS) is an international effort to pull together the best non-prescriptive drought information from local providers and provide an “apples to apples” comparison of drought conditions around the world. The Global Drought Monitor depicts current drought conditions across the globe using a “bottom-up” approach. This means that the drought conditions on each continent are assessed by the Nations of that continent.

Example map of the North American Drought Monitor.

North American Drought Monitor

USA, Canada, Mexico

The North American Drought Monitor (NADM) is a cooperative effort between drought experts in Canada, Mexico, and the United States to monitor drought across the continent on an ongoing basis. The program was initiated at a three-day workshop in late April 2002 and is part of a larger effort to improve the monitoring of climate extremes on the continent. The NADM is updated monthly and is based on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Tools to Visualize and Analyze Drought Worldwide

Example normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) map of Europe and Northern Africa from Climate Engine

Climate Engine

Desert Research Institute, Western Regional Climate Center, University of California, Merced

Climate Engine uses Google’s Earth Engine to process satellite and climate data on demand to visualize value and anomaly mapping, as well as time series and statistical summaries of datasets. This allows users to analyze and interact with climate and earth observations for decision support related to drought, water use, agriculture, wildfire, and ecology.

A map showing NDVI for Africa and Europe, from the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture

Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) seeks to strengthen agricultural drought monitoring and early warning globally. GIEWS uses remote sensing to estimate precipitation and to monitor the following, both globally and for individual countries: Agricultural Stress Index; drought intensity; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomalies; Vegetation Condition Index; and Vegetation Health Index. A country-level Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) tool has been incorporated into GIEWS to support country-level monitoring and management of agricultural drought, providing more precise information on drought stress to crops. The tool will be expanded to more countries in the future.

An example map of South America from the Global Drought Observatory MapViewer

Global Drought Observatory

European Commission

The MapViewer of the Global Drought Observatory (GDO), hosted by the European Commission, generates global maps of monthly precipitation, mean annual precipitation, SPI, soil moisture anomaly, and NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Total Water Storage anomaly. The site also supports mapping of fire danger from the Global Wildfire Information System; information from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (see below for more information); the Wetlands drought index from Ramsar; and an up-to-date “Risk of Drought Impact for Agriculture” by country. The GDO MapViewer supports comparison of monthly or 10-day period maps.

Example ClimatView map of Asia and Australia


Japan Meteorological Agency

The ClimatView tool enables viewing and downloading of global or continental-scale maps of monthly world climate data, including temperature and precipitation and related anomalies, normals, and 3-, 6-, and 12-month SPI. ClimatView is produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency with input from the World Meteorological Organization members around the world.

GEOGLoWS HydroViewer.



The GEO-Global Water Sustainability Initiative (GEOGloWS) is an interagency (NASA, NOAA, and USGS) collaboration that promotes the GEO data-sharing principles and data management for improved water resource management. GEOGLoWS is an open and free web-based service providing hydrological forecasts and 80 years of historical data for every stream within its 7 million stream network worldwide.  

Worldwide Humanitarian Alert Systems

Example Southern Africa Food Security Classification Map from FEWS Net


USGS EROS Data Center, USAID, NASA, NOAA, Chemonics International

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) provides monthly reports and maps for approximately 30 countries detailing current and projected food insecurity in order to inform planning and humanitarian response. Created and managed by the United States Agency for International Development, FEWS NET examines the performance of rainfall (onset, totals, distribution, cessation) at various points in the year, together with forecasts, and develops scenarios of food security projections.

Example map of disaster alerts within the past 4 days from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS)

United Nations, European Commission

GDACS provides a map of disaster alerts—including drought—worldwide to improve alerts, information exchange and coordination for disasters. This is produced as a cooperative framework between the United Nations, the European Commission, and disaster managers worldwide.

Example map of alert and ongoing disasters in Africa and Europe from ReliefWeb


United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs provides information services via ReliefWeb on severe disasters—including drought and heat waves—in highly vulnerable countries. The goal is to help humanitarian workers and decision makers make informed decisions to mobilize to address disasters. ReliefWeb monitors and collates information from several sources, including humanitarian agencies at international and local levels, governments, research institutions, and the media.

International Drought Resources