Flash Droughts Are The New Normal

by | Aug 28, 2023 | Climate Change, Environment

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Flash droughts have become the new normal as a result of climate change. This flash drought is speedier and more intense, catching farmers off guard as they struggle with their agriculture. According to one study, droughts, in general, are initiated faster. Flash droughts are more severe, creating a large crop-destroying imprint. This human-caused flash drought is expected to worsen in the future as temperatures rise. According to researchers, the ‘new normal’ of flash droughts makes anticipating and preparing for their consequences more challenging.

Flash drought

Credit: Barcin <stock>

What Are Flash Droughts?

Flash droughts, produced by low precipitation and high evapotranspiration, can quickly deplete soil water and progress to severe droughts within a few weeks. Droughts can endure for months, causing damage to flora and ecosystems as well as creating heat waves and wildfires. It only occurs during the growing season – usually in the summer, but occasionally in the spring and autumn – and is particularly insidious since it is caused by factors other than the lack of rain or snow that causes a conventional slow-onset drought. During a flash drought, the air becomes so hot and dry that it sucks water out of plants and soil.

The Present Situation

The change from droughts to flash droughts has far-reaching consequences for the ecology. The environment is incapable of adapting to a sudden lack of water and excessive heat. A new forecasting technique is necessary to comprehend flash drought warnings and their effects on natural ecosystems and humans.

According to the study, more flash droughts exist in tropical regions, including India, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Amazon basin. The rainy seasons are often rainy enough to keep the ground and plants moist. However, if the rains suddenly stop, the tropical heat can have a disastrous impact on the earth by desiccating it. The population most affected by flash droughts is that which relies on rain-fed agriculture.

Nearly every year in the last ten years ranks at the top, and the world has already warmed by at least 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to preindustrial levels. The earth won’t cool down for several millennia; it will simply cease warming, even if we get our act together and drastically cut our emissions all the way down to zero. For better or worse, this is the norm, and it’s our responsibility to prevent a worse situation from replacing it as the new standard in the future.

Also Read: Relationship Between Climate Change And The Regularity of Droughts


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