Flash droughts are found to be coming on faster, as per a global study
Flash floods have been a regular phenomenon. Planet Earth is now bracing for a new disastrous situation – Flash droughts. The condition where soil dries out in a matter of days or weeks is imminent on the face of the globe. What’s concerning is the fact that flash droughts could wipe off crops and plantations, thus leading to major catastrophe.
With the rate at which flash droughts could dry out landscapes could usher in food scarcity and huge economic losses. Though the number of flash droughts has remained stable over the past twenty years or so, the chances of more occurring faster are being pointed out by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Texas Tech University.
Flash droughts have a faster onset
It has been found that flash droughts that happen at extreme speeds have risen by 3 percent to 19 percent. Faster drought conditions can occur in a matter of just five days. Researchers point out that in places prone to flash droughts, and thy include South Asia, Southeast Asia and central North America, the increase would be about 22 percent to 59 percent.
Flash droughts could be attributed to the huge rise in global temperatures. Rising mercury levels have been pushing a faster onset of flash droughts. The important research would make the citizens of the world and the various governments take note of the faster occurrences of flash droughts and start gearing up to mitigate their impacts.
With record-breaking temperature rise happening every year, the world would now be prepared for flash droughts which could be more disastrous than one could contemplate on.
Need for minimising the impact
The research to this effect, led by doctoral student Yamin Qing and Professor Shuo Wang, of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and published in Nature Communications needs to be seen as a pointer towards minimize the disastrous effects such phenomena could bring with them. It needs to be taken note of that flash droughts is a relatively new phenomenon to science, and it has been the findings by remote sensing technology lately that have given hints of the soil drying out.
Unfortunately, flash droughts have been found as occurring during critical growing periods leading to severe issues. An instance being pointed out is an episode that happened in the summer of 2012, when a flash drought in the central United States caused corn crop to wither. The phenomenon then had caused an estimated loss of $35.7 billion. The only solace is that the flash droughts are short lived, and could last only a few weeks or months.