Higher Exposure of Poorer People to Emerging Weather Whiplash in a Warmer World

Boen Zhang, Shuo Wang, Jakob Zscheischler, Hamid Moradkhani

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The emergence of abrupt shift from drought to downpour has attracted widespread attention in recent years, with particularly disastrous consequences in low-income regions. However, the spatiotemporal evolution and poverty exposure to such drought-to-downpour events remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate the connection between poverty and drought-to-downpour events based on three data products and climate models on a global scale. We find that the drought-to-downpour events increased by 24%–48% in the poorest 20% of the world's population from 1980 to 2010. The drought-to-downpour events do not appear to be occurring more frequently in most regions globally, just affecting regions with higher poverty rates more frequently, especially in African countries. The exposure inequality remains under future socioeconomic pathways, with a nearly fivefold increase in the exposure for the poorer populations. Poverty exposure to more frequent drought-to-downpour events demands greater support for climate adaptation in low-income countries to reduce poverty and inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GL105640
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023


  • drought
  • pluvial
  • poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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