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Article

Real-Time Prediction of Areas Susceptible to Flash Drought Development

1
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center/Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
2
Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, College Park, MD 20740, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101114
Received: 11 September 2020 / Revised: 10 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Climatology)
Flash drought is a type of drought that develops quickly (usually within 2–4 weeks) in contrast to conventional, slowly evolving drought. Due to its sudden onset, flash drought is more difficult to predict and can cause major agricultural losses if it is not forecasted in a timely manner. To improve our ability to predict flash drought, we develop a subseasonal tool to predict areas susceptible to flash drought development using the Phase 2 of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS-2) data. The tool calculates the rapid change index (RCI) using 7-day mean evapotranspiration anomalies. RCI is the accumulated magnitude of moisture stress changes (standardized differences) occurring over multiple weeks, and drought is likely to develop when RCI is negative. Since RCI changes with time, like all drought variables, it is difficult to capture drought development signals by monitoring RCI maps. In order to create an intuitive drought prediction map that directly depicts drought tendency, we use a threshold method to identify grid points with large decreases of 7-day mean evapotranspiration anomaly (i.e., RCI less than −0.5) in the last 30 days and under the condition that 3-month standardized precipitation index is less than −0.4. The real-time tool started running on 1 April 2018 at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and has been used to support CPC’s Monthly Drought Outlook efforts. The performance of the tool is evaluated using both retrospective and real-time predictions. The assessment shows promising results in predicting potential flash drought development, and the interplay between precipitation and high temperatures appears to be a challenge for flash drought prediction. View Full-Text
Keywords: flash drought; evapotranspiration; drought onset; drought prediction; rapid change index flash drought; evapotranspiration; drought onset; drought prediction; rapid change index
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, L.G.; Hartman, A.; Pugh, B.; Gottschalck, J.; Miskus, D. Real-Time Prediction of Areas Susceptible to Flash Drought Development. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 1114. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101114

AMA Style

Chen LG, Hartman A, Pugh B, Gottschalck J, Miskus D. Real-Time Prediction of Areas Susceptible to Flash Drought Development. Atmosphere. 2020; 11(10):1114. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101114

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, L. G., Adam Hartman, Brad Pugh, Jon Gottschalck, and David Miskus. 2020. "Real-Time Prediction of Areas Susceptible to Flash Drought Development" Atmosphere 11, no. 10: 1114. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101114

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