The geopolitical fallout from drought is slow and cumulative; these are slow-burn disasters that stay out of the news until their worst effects are felt. What begins as a minor crop disruption one year can spiral into an agricultural disaster the next should disruptive weather patterns persist. Similarly on the individual level, a small-but-manageable caloric reduction can end in disaster as household items and capital are gradually sold off to purchase food, effectively mortgaging the economic future of a families and whole communities. These shocks can erode political institutions, generate sectarian conflict over dwindling resources, and even trigger civil wars.

2019 saw its fair share of extreme weather events, which disrupted agriculture and produced run-on political, economic, and humanitarian impacts around the world. 2020 is expected to be no different. Here are a few contexts to keep an eye on in the year ahead: