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Title: Trends, Variability, and Drivers of Flash Droughts in the Contiguous United States
Abstract

Flash droughts are recently recognized subseasonal extreme climate phenomena, which develop with rapid onset and intensification and have significant socio‐environmental impacts. However, their historical trends and variability remain unclear largely due to the uncertainty associated with existing approaches. Here we comprehensively assessed trends, spatiotemporal variability, and drivers of soil moisture (SM) and evaporative demand (ED) flash droughts over the contiguous United States (CONUS) during 1981–2018 using hierarchical clustering, wavelet analysis, and bootstrapping conditional probability approaches. Results show that flash droughts occur in all regions in CONUS with Central and portions of the Eastern US showing the highest percentage of weeks in flash drought. ED flash drought trends are significantly increasing in all regions, while SM flash drought trends were relatively weaker across CONUS, with small significant increasing trends in the South and West regions and a decreasing trend in the Northeast. Rising ED flash drought trends are related to increasing temperature trends, while SM flash drought trends are strongly related to trends in weekly precipitation intensity besides weekly average precipitation and evapotranspiration. In terms of temporal variability, high severity flash droughts occurred every 2–7 years, corresponding with ENSO periods. For most CONUS regions, severe flash droughts occurred most often during La Niña and when the American Multidecadal Oscillation was in a positive phase. Pacific Decadal Oscillation negative phases and Artic Oscillation positive phases were also associated with increased flash drought occurrences in several regions. These findings may have implications for informing long‐term flash drought predictions and adaptations.

 
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Award ID(s):
2144293 1922687
NSF-PAR ID:
10375806
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Volume:
58
Issue:
9
ISSN:
0043-1397
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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