Global drought trends and future projections
Drought is one of the most difficult natural hazards to quantify and is divided into categories (meteorological, agricultural, ecological and hydrological), which makes assessing recent changes and future scenarios extremely difficult. This opinion piece includes a review of the recent scientific literature on the topic and analyses trends
in meteorological droughts by using long-term precipitation records and different drought metrics to evaluate the role of global warming processes in trends of agricultural, hydrological and ecological drought severity over the last four decades, during which a sharp increase in atmospheric evaporative demand (AED) has been recorded. Meteorological droughts do not show any substantial changes at the global scale in at least the last 120 years, but an increase in the severity of agricultural and ecological droughts seems to emerge as a consequence of the increase in the severity of AED. Lastly, this study evaluates drought projections from earth system models and focuses on the most important aspects that need to be considered when evaluating drought processes in a changing climate, such as the use of different metrics and the uncertainty of modelling approaches.