loading page

Comparing agriculture-related characteristics of flash and normal drought reveals heterogeneous crop response
  • Sarah Quynh-Giang Ho,
  • Allan Buras,
  • Ye Tuo
Sarah Quynh-Giang Ho
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:sarah.ho@kit.edu

Author Profile
Allan Buras
Technical University of Munich
Author Profile
Ye Tuo
Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management, Technical University of Munich
Author Profile


Despite rapid progress in the burgeoning field of flash drought research, few studies directly compare the differences in characteristics between flash drought (commonly understood as quick, rapid-onset drought) and drought traditionally defined as slow-moving (henceforth normal drought), particularly over agricultural regions where drought effects may be economically the most disastrous. In this study, flash and normal drought events are identified using reanalysis soil moisture in the data-rich agricultural region of the California Central Valley for investigation of characteristics related to agriculture. In particular, we investigate the relative duration of pixels in drought events, the correlation of drought intensity with vegetation condition, the impact of aridity on vegetation response and drought, and the differences in the different characteristics between rainfed and irrigated agriculture. Overall, we found considerable differences between flash and normal drought, particularly in their spatial distributions and behavior in relation to aridity. Flash droughts even indicate a counterintuitive improvement in vegetation condition in the northern, more humid regions, likely due to the release of growth limiting factors (e.g. below-optimum temperature and radiation) associated with drought. Results also indicate improvements in vegetation conditions during normal drought for irrigated land over rainfed, highlighting the importance of irrigation as a drought protection strategy in agriculture.
12 Apr 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
16 Apr 2023Published in ESS Open Archive