"As World Warms, Droughts Come On Faster, Study Finds"

"When rains fail unexpectedly, higher temperatures can more rapidly parch the ground, to devastating effect."

"Flash droughts, the kind that arrive quickly and can lay waste to crops in a matter of weeks, are becoming more common and faster to develop around the world, and human-caused climate change is a major reason, a new scientific study has found.

As global warming continues, more abrupt dry spells could have grave consequences for people in humid regions whose livelihoods depend on rain-fed agriculture. The study found that flash droughts occurred more often than slower ones in parts of tropical places like India, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Amazon basin.

But “even for slow droughts, the onset speed has been increasing,” said Xing Yuan, a hydrologist at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in China and lead author of the new study, which was published Thursday in Science. In other words, droughts of all kinds are coming on more speedily, straining forecasters’ ability to anticipate them and communities’ ability to cope."

Raymond Zhong reports for the New York Times April 13, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 04/14/2023