Claim: ‘Flash droughts’ coming on faster, global study shows


Peer-Reviewed Publication

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

IMAGE: DRY CORN STALKS IN IOWA DURING THE FLASH DROUGHT OF SUMMER 2012, WHICH WIPED OUT CROPS AND CAUSED $35.7 BILLION IN LOSSES. view more  CREDIT: UNITE STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Just like flash floods, flash droughts come on fast — drying out soil in a matter of days to weeks. These events can wipe out crops and cause huge economic losses. And according to scientists, the speed at which they dry out the landscape has increased. 

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Texas Tech University found that although the number of flash droughts has remained stable during the past two decades, more of them are coming on faster. Globally, the flash droughts that come on the fastest — sending areas into drought conditions within just five days — have increased by about 3%-19%. And in places that are especially prone to flash droughts — such as South Asia, Southeast Asia and central North America — that increase is about 22%-59%.

Rising global temperatures are probably behind the faster onset, said co-author and UT Jackson School Professor Zong-Liang Yang, who added that the study’s results underscore the importance of understanding flash droughts and preparing for their effects.

“Every year, we are seeing record-breaking warming episodes, and that is a good precursor to these flash droughts,” he said. “The hope and purpose [of this research] is to minimize the detrimental effects.”

The research was published in Nature Communications. The study was led by doctoral student Yamin Qing and Professor Shuo Wang, both of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Flash droughts are relatively new to science, with the advancement of remote sensing technology during the past couple of decades helping reveal instances of soil rapidly drying out. This serves as the telltale sign of the onset of a flash drought and can make drought conditions appear seemingly out of the blue.

As the name suggests, flash droughts are short lived, usually lasting only a few weeks or months. But when they occur during critical growing periods, they can cause disasters. For example, in the summer of 2012, a flash drought in the central United States caused the corn crop to wither, leading to an estimated $35.7 billion in losses.  

In this study, the scientists analyzed global hydroclimate data sets that use satellite soil moisture measurements to capture a global picture of flash drought and how it has changed during the past 21 years. The data showed that about 34%-46% of flash droughts came on in about five days. The rest emerge within a month, with more than 70% developing in half a month or less.  

When they examined the droughts over time, they noticed the flash droughts happening more quickly.

The study also revealed the importance of humidity and variable weather patterns, with flash droughts becoming more likely when there’s a shift from humid to arid conditions. That makes regions that undergo seasonal swings in humidity — such as Southeast Asia, the Amazon Basin, and the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States — flash drought hot spots.

“We should pay close attention to the vulnerable regions with a high probability of concurrent soil drought and atmospheric aridity,” said Wang.

Mark Svoboda, the director of the National Drought Mitigation Center and originator of the term “flash drought,” said the advancement in drought-detecting technology and modeling tools — such as those used in this study — has led to growing awareness of the influence and impact of flash droughts. He said the next big step is translating this knowledge into on-the-ground planning.

“You can go back and watch that drought evolve in 2012 and then compare it to how that tool did,” said Svoboda, who was not part of the study. “We really have the stage well set to do a better job of tracking these droughts.”

The study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council.


DOI

10.1038/s41467-022-28752-4 

ARTICLE TITLE

Accelerating flash droughts induced by the joint influence of soil moisture depletion and atmospheric aridity

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

3-Apr-2022

From EurekAlert!

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April 2, 2022 2:09 pm

Is it still April 1st?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 2, 2022 2:24 pm

I went to Eureka Alert with the same thought. In fact this notice was indeed published yesterday, April 1. So April Fools is the only possible explanation for claiming something nobody could measure two decades ago–‘flash drought’—has been increasing because of climate change. And the two decades nearly covers the inconvenient ‘pause’ that lasted 1.5 decades.

Pretty funny until you realize the paper is in supposedly serious and peer reviewed Nature Communications.

TonyL
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 2, 2022 3:22 pm

New sensor technology allows us to see something not measured before. Therefor it (whatever it is) is now happening faster. Got it.

CTM post from YouReekAlerts == Skip, do not bother reading.

H.R.
Reply to  TonyL
April 2, 2022 8:50 pm

WARNING! Heavy thread bombing ahead.

Doonman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 2, 2022 5:12 pm

Remember, the climate is changing even when it isn’t. That’s what makes it such an emergency. It’s worse than we thought even when we stopped thinking about recent measurements, as you point out.

Jery
Reply to  Doonman
April 2, 2022 7:17 pm
Jery
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 2, 2022 7:16 pm
Gregory Woods
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 2, 2022 2:47 pm

For Alarmists, every day is April 1st…

Ron Long
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 2, 2022 6:24 pm

Yes it’s still April 1st somewhere, so here goes; next thing you know they will also include women’s hot flashes are increasing due to climate change as a research item. Wait for it.

Jery
Reply to  Ron Long
April 2, 2022 7:17 pm
Jery
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 2, 2022 7:26 pm
Reply to  Jery
April 3, 2022 4:00 am

Yawn.

kungfool
Reply to  Jery
April 5, 2022 9:04 pm

Pretty scary, huh kids?

Jery
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
April 2, 2022 7:34 pm
Reply to  Jery
April 3, 2022 4:00 am

Yawn.

b.nice
April 2, 2022 2:21 pm

Global temperatures have been falling for about the last 6-7 years..

So rising temperatures cannot be the cause. !

TonyL
Reply to  b.nice
April 2, 2022 3:25 pm

So rising temperatures cannot be the cause. !

An unfortunately simplistic analysis. One only has to pasteurize the data set to see the temperature increase, then the cause is clear. There are *right* ways to go about Climate Science.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  TonyL
April 2, 2022 4:00 pm

No, there are “left” ways to go about Climate Science (TM).

MarkH
Reply to  TonyL
April 2, 2022 4:05 pm

Here in Australia the data sets are both pasteurised and homogenised and they won’t let you have it any other way…. certainly not raw.

Jery
Reply to  MarkH
April 2, 2022 7:18 pm
Sturmudgeon
Reply to  MarkH
April 3, 2022 12:44 pm

Cute!

Jery
Reply to  TonyL
April 2, 2022 7:17 pm
Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Jery
April 3, 2022 12:21 pm

Why don’t you just bogoff?

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
April 3, 2022 12:45 pm

this one is missing more than the one ‘r’.

b.nice
April 2, 2022 2:22 pm

Sad they were unable to analyze data from the the 1930s and 40s 😉

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  b.nice
April 2, 2022 3:43 pm

And the 50s, 2 (Texas and Texas Tech) out of three universities knew about it. I studied the flood at the end, funny no one previously used the word “flash” on droughts. Perhaps this is going on as there are so many ‘scientific’ journals I’ve lost track of how many newer ones crop up with papers of interest. Just ran across another. Bragging rites now maybe also for most journals published in, my father [resume] can whip your father sort of thing?

Many of these, including Ecological Modeling, emphasize this headline for searching papers in their journal––
Latest Published   Top Cited   Most Downloaded  Most Popular.

The only uncertainty is how much this quantitative imperative is influencing quality, I guessing very large based on my ‘expert’ opinion. Or is it just symptomatic of a larger malaise?

Jery
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
April 2, 2022 7:18 pm
Joao Martins
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
April 3, 2022 2:09 am

My ‘expert’ opinion agrees with yours.

Jery
Reply to  b.nice
April 2, 2022 7:18 pm
Herbert
April 2, 2022 2:24 pm

The expression “flash drought” was a flash of genius on the part of the originator.
Or is it just a flash in the pan?

Jery
Reply to  Herbert
April 2, 2022 7:18 pm
Richard Page
Reply to  Herbert
April 3, 2022 2:44 pm

Isn’t it what we used to refer to as a ‘dry spell’ or ‘warm weather’? Calling it a ‘flash drought’ seems to be just buying in to an extreme alarmist position.

PCman999
April 2, 2022 2:38 pm

“…found that although the number of flash droughts has remained stable during the past two decades, more of them are coming on faster. ”

More of then and faster, yet the total is stable? And they conveniently forget to mention the ever-growing crop yields.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  PCman999
April 2, 2022 3:17 pm

Your comment involves logic and basic math. That won’t do concerning this paper.

Scissor
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 2, 2022 7:13 pm

Climate science really sucks, but my what big portions.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  PCman999
April 2, 2022 4:03 pm

What they appear to be saying is that, of the stable number of flash droughts, more of them are coming on faster. It is unclear what they meant in this phrase – may be a translation problem, or it just could be that it is a EurekaAlert press release

Joao Martins
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 3, 2022 2:15 am

My uneducated guess is, the text was written automatically by an artificial intelligence computer program.

Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Joao Martins
April 3, 2022 12:48 pm

And here comes Jery again, with his artificial intelligence.

Richard Page
Reply to  Sturmudgeon
April 3, 2022 2:46 pm

Artificial stupidity. Can somebody be that totally stupid by entirely natural means?

Jery
Reply to  PCman999
April 2, 2022 7:19 pm
Paul S.
April 2, 2022 2:49 pm

I think they are running out of catastrophes. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Jery
Reply to  Paul S.
April 2, 2022 7:19 pm
Sturmudgeon
Reply to  Jery
April 3, 2022 12:50 pm

Perhaps, after the first hundred or identical posts by Jery… they could be stopped?

LdB
Reply to  Paul S.
April 2, 2022 8:12 pm

It’s a big world there is always a catastrophe somewhere. The problem the greentards is having is the public have worked out even if you did climate action the prediction is you would be dead before any change occurred. Then came the Ukraine war and threats and problems got real.

JCM
April 2, 2022 2:59 pm

Soils drying in under 5 days has much more to do with soil health and organics (moisture retention) than the atmospheric factors discussed in the paper.

Healthy soils do not dry in 5 days; but eroded soils certainly can.

They might consider asking a soil scientist about it.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  JCM
April 2, 2022 3:19 pm

That is very true.
But ask a soil scientist when you are a climate scientist studying soils—nope. No more than Mann consulted real statisticians when inventing his centered PCA to manufacture hockey sticks.

Jery
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 2, 2022 7:21 pm
Jery
Reply to  JCM
April 2, 2022 7:20 pm
M Courtney
Reply to  JCM
April 3, 2022 1:56 am

As the name suggests, flash droughts are short lived, usually lasting only a few weeks or months.

My thoughts were similar. Except it occurred to me that basic irrigation is a remedial step.
You don’t need the full skills of a 21st century soil scientist.

Just listen to the engineers and administrators of ancient Babylon who made Mesopotamia the Fertile Crescent 4,000 years ago.

Joao Martins
Reply to  JCM
April 3, 2022 2:24 am

You are admitting that they understand what is “soil”. It seems that they think that crushed rock, dust, etc., are “soil”.

Tom Halla
April 2, 2022 3:13 pm

I think this is like road rage, a catchy phrase to describe something that was always out there.

aussiecol
April 2, 2022 3:20 pm

Who would have thought, when it stops raining, it gets dry….Where’s my money!!!

Jery
Reply to  aussiecol
April 2, 2022 7:21 pm
Alan
April 2, 2022 3:29 pm

Where I live, it hasn’t rained for more than 12 hours. Is that a flash drought?

dk_
April 2, 2022 3:45 pm

Flash droughts are relatively new to science

funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council.

…all you need to know.

DMacKenzie
April 2, 2022 3:56 pm

Flash droughts, heat domes, global heating……There is no end to the hyperbole….

Bruce Cobb
April 2, 2022 4:00 pm

“Flash droughts are relatively new to science. Because we just invented them!
We’re so smart.”

Jery
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 2, 2022 7:22 pm
Graemethecat
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 3, 2022 3:39 am

A flash drought is about as meaningful as a lightning hunger strike.

Richard Page
Reply to  Graemethecat
April 3, 2022 2:48 pm

Or ‘thundersnow’ perhaps?

H.R.
April 2, 2022 5:09 pm

I’m beginning to fear Flash Lovely Days.

It’s worse than we thought.

Doonman
April 2, 2022 5:31 pm

One must clearly question where the term “Bad Weather” came from since it obviously was never this bad before.

Of course, scientists who are still working and making these statements weren’t around to compare or verify any past weather conditions because they weren’t born yet. So you’ll just have to trust them and ignore history as they make up new descriptions about the same old events.

Philip
April 2, 2022 5:34 pm

Rising global temperatures are probably behind the faster onset, said co-author and UT Jackson School Professor Zong-Liang Yang

Can someone point me to these probably rising global temperatures(plural).

Jery
Reply to  Philip
April 2, 2022 7:23 pm
Terry
April 2, 2022 6:13 pm

This has the unmistakable smell of pure B.S.

Jery
Reply to  Terry
April 2, 2022 7:23 pm
Peta of Newark
April 2, 2022 6:33 pm

Was that Bono of U2, up on stage somewhere and coming over all Bleeding Heart

Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies” he did declare.
Better stop clapping then” came the reply

Same as here….
Stop making things up then they’ll stop getting worse

Jery
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 2, 2022 7:24 pm
lee
April 2, 2022 6:52 pm

3% of 5 days? That’s scary.

Jery
Reply to  lee
April 2, 2022 7:23 pm
Jery
April 2, 2022 7:07 pm

Geoengineeringwatch.org

Jery
April 2, 2022 7:16 pm

Very simple wake up out of stu and go to bitchute and in search box on page type weather modification of chemtrails or haarp machine or cloudseeding you will find ton of vids regarding why we are going from snow to rain to hot to cold. https://www.bitchute.com/video/x3liX46Zzfmi/

Jery
April 2, 2022 7:36 pm

To to bitchute and type in search box weather modification or chemtrails this is why the drought also look up operation lockstep! A rockerfeller foundations book written in 2010 proof this is all planned by nwo..https://www.bitchute.com/video/x3liX46Zzfmi/

April 2, 2022 8:04 pm

Sound like researchers need to go primitive camping in the Mojave, far from the urbs.
Primitive means no modern fire igniters, find most of their food and prepare it for their meals.

Teach them, the difference between a brief dry spell and a true drought.

Matthew Sykes
April 3, 2022 1:15 am

Yet crop yields continue to set new records…..

Therefore I say this is junk science.

DocSiders
April 3, 2022 4:57 am

Dead soils have low moisture content to start with and also have very low moisture retention. These soils heat up rapidly causing even more drying.

Healthy soils (with abundant microorganism populations and high amounts of stable humic carbon compounds) are routinely up to 8 degrees cooler in mid-summer (when there’s no breezes) than dead soil fields only miles apart.

95% of our cropland are dead. Water infiltration for most soils today is only around 1/2″ per hour. If it rains 1″ the soils only “get” half an inch… the rest runs off…taking lots of the dead soils with it.

Healthy soils retain 10″ per hour. Very healthy soils can absorb up to 20″ an hour (with over 3 feet of penetration).

Whole nations with dead soils (all nations) has Climate effects. The Heat Island effects are not seen just in cities any more.

Regenerative Agriculture practices can heal soils in 3 to 6 years while increasing farm profitability during transition (requires hacking the system with inoculations and foliar nutrient delivery).

It could also sequester lots more carbon than we emit without spending $Trillions on crazy unworkable “Carbon Capture” technologies (that are being taken seriously).

Little interest in soil carbon capture is likely to develop… since actual solutions aren’t wanted at all. The *issue* of a Climate Crisis (and the ability to gain CONTROL) is all the Activists and Leftist politicians really want.

Not Chicken Little
April 3, 2022 9:22 am

I can’t hardly wait until some “researchers” figure out that if they combine predictions of disasters they can wring even more money out of the suckers through the politicians.

Imagine flash droughts with polar vortexes and bomb cyclones, all at once. Throw in murder hornets for good measure.

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 3, 2022 12:24 pm

Forget about the flash droughts and the flash floods, it’s the flash normal that will get us.

Pat from kerbob
April 3, 2022 1:13 pm

Flash droughts are alleviated by bomb cyclones unless the polar vortex interferes first

J. R.
April 3, 2022 1:45 pm

This sounds like a job for the fire brigade. When a flash drought is detected, firetrucks can rush out and hose down the fields. Problem solved.

Pat from kerbob
April 3, 2022 6:56 pm

Lots of chatter here on the canadian prairie that the current drought is worse than any time in history, never mind all those black blizzards and biblical locust plagues from the 30’s
Of course, these are the Great Plains not the great Forest because drought is the normal condition
Seen wet to dry to wet now back to dry in my 56 years.
So yes, I can see climate change.

HJMII
April 4, 2022 9:49 am

Seems to this lay observer that 21 years of data is a snapshot of weather variability, not climate

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