Meteorologists Predict Soaring Risk of Flash Droughts
Meteorologists from Oklahoma State University published a study that found risk of flash droughts, which can develop in the span of a few weeks, is set to rise in every major agriculture region around the world in the coming decades. The extent of that rise depends on the actions the world takes to reduce global warming. The scientists say that in North America and Europe, cropland that had a 32% annual chance of a flash drought a few years ago could have as much as a 53% annual chance of a flash drought by the final decades of this century, if high rates of greenhouse-gas emissions continue. Flash droughts develop quickly, as precipitation stops and hot and dry weather increase evaporative demand and cause soil to lose moisture. They can result in significant agricultural damage, particularly if they develop at a time when crops are especially vulnerable.