New Study by Chen Could Help Predict Flash Droughts

ESSIC/CISESS Assistant Research Engineer L. Gwen Chen was lead author on a recent paper published in a special issue of Atmosphere titled “Flash Drought Characteristics Based on U.S. Drought Monitor”.

The study discusses the characteristics of flash droughts, i.e. drought events with greater than or equal to two categories degradation in a four-week period based on the U.S. Drought Monitor.  In contrast with conventional droughts, which are mainly driven by precipitation deficits, flash droughts usually come with anomalously high evapotranspiration rates, caused by high temperatures, winds, and/or incoming radiation.  As a result, monitoring rapid changes in evapotranspiration, along with precipitation and soil moisture conditions, can provide early warnings of flash drought development.

Chen’s research interests include the role of hydrometeorology in the coupled Earth system. She is also interested in multimodel ensemble forecasts and their applications to short-term climate predictions.  She is currently working on drought prediction and monitoring to support the missions of NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

To read the paper, click here: “Flash Drought Characteristics Based on U.S. Drought Monitor”.