The Middle East is experiencing its most severe drought in 900 years, according to NASA-- one which is seemingly endless. The drought peaked between 2006-2010, and although 2007, 2009 and 2010 saw “normal” amounts of total rainfall, the region was still in drought.
And therein lies the paradox. A combination of factors, including water management and when the rain falls, means there can still be drought and water scarcity even if it rains a “normal” total amount. If winter rain is typically spread out between November and May, these non-drought-ending rains fell between, say, January and April, often in torrential downpours. This has led to flash flooding of the sort that much of the Middle East has seen this winter, which in turn has led to the erosion of topsoil that farmers rely on for a successful crop. And these extreme drought/flooding events are becoming more frequent.