Over the past decades droughts have become more recurrent in Europe causing approximately €100 billion of damage from 1976 to 2006. With global warming, the world is likely to become increasingly prone to drought events. Droughts are natural disasters that develop slowly, propagating through the full hydrological cycle, with often long-term social, economic and environmental impacts on large areas and populations. About half of the Earth’s land area is susceptible to drought, which killed more than 11 million and affected more than 2 billion people from 1900 to 2011.
A Joint Research Centre paper published in the International Journal of Climatology provides an overview of the areas most hit my drought events over the past 60 years, from 1951 to 2010. The article maps the frequency, the duration and the severity of meteorological droughts, showing the hotspots that occurred the past decades.
The regions most exposed to prolonged and severe droughts during 1951-1970 were the Central United States, the Argentinian Pampas, Russia, and Central Australia. The following two decades Southern Chile, the Sahel and Siberia were the most concerned area. Whilst the Amazon Forest, the Congo River Basin, Mongolia, North Eastern China and Borneo were much more exposed between 1991-2010.
The full article: World drought frequency, duration, and severity for 1951–2010, wrote by J. Spinoni, G. Naumann, H. Carrao, P. Barbosa and J. Vogt (2013) is available online.