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Flash Drought Characteristics by Different Severities in Humid Subtropical Basins: A Case Study in the Gan River Basin, China

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  • 1 a Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • | 2 b School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Huaiyin Normal University, Huai’an, China
  • | 3 c School of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST), Nanjing, China
  • | 4 d Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education (KLME)/Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters (CIC-FEMD), NUIST, Nanjing, China
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Abstract

It is essential to assess flash drought risk based on a reliable flash drought intensity (severity) index incorporating comprehensive information of the rapid decline (“flash”) in soil moisture toward drought conditions and soil moisture thresholds belonging to the “drought” category. In this study, we used the Gan River basin as an example to define a flash drought intensity index that can be calculated for individual time steps (pentads) during a flash drought period over a given grid (or station). The severity of a complete flash drought event is the sum of the intensity values during the flash drought. We explored the spatial and temporal characteristics of flash droughts with different grades based on their respective severities. The results show that decreases in total cloud cover, precipitation, and relative humidity, as well as increases in 500-hPa geopotential height, convective inhibition, temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and wind speed can create favorable conditions for the occurrence of flash droughts. Although flash droughts are relatively frequent in the central and southern parts of the basin, the severity is relatively high in the northern part of the basin due to longer duration. Flash drought severity shows a slightly downward trend due to decreases in frequency, duration, and intensity from 1961 to 2018. Extreme and exceptional flash droughts decrease significantly while moderate and severe flash droughts trend slightly upward. Flash drought severity appears to be more affected by the interaction between duration and intensity as the grade increases from mild to severe. The frequency and duration of flash droughts are higher in July–October. The southern part of the basin is more prone to moderate and severe flash droughts, while the northern parts of the basin are more vulnerable to extreme and exceptional flash droughts due to longer durations and greater severities than other parts. Moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional flash droughts occurred at approximately 3–6-, 5–15-, 10–50-, and 30–200-yr intervals, respectively, based on the copula analysis.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Qinglong You, qlyou@fudan.edu.cn

Abstract

It is essential to assess flash drought risk based on a reliable flash drought intensity (severity) index incorporating comprehensive information of the rapid decline (“flash”) in soil moisture toward drought conditions and soil moisture thresholds belonging to the “drought” category. In this study, we used the Gan River basin as an example to define a flash drought intensity index that can be calculated for individual time steps (pentads) during a flash drought period over a given grid (or station). The severity of a complete flash drought event is the sum of the intensity values during the flash drought. We explored the spatial and temporal characteristics of flash droughts with different grades based on their respective severities. The results show that decreases in total cloud cover, precipitation, and relative humidity, as well as increases in 500-hPa geopotential height, convective inhibition, temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and wind speed can create favorable conditions for the occurrence of flash droughts. Although flash droughts are relatively frequent in the central and southern parts of the basin, the severity is relatively high in the northern part of the basin due to longer duration. Flash drought severity shows a slightly downward trend due to decreases in frequency, duration, and intensity from 1961 to 2018. Extreme and exceptional flash droughts decrease significantly while moderate and severe flash droughts trend slightly upward. Flash drought severity appears to be more affected by the interaction between duration and intensity as the grade increases from mild to severe. The frequency and duration of flash droughts are higher in July–October. The southern part of the basin is more prone to moderate and severe flash droughts, while the northern parts of the basin are more vulnerable to extreme and exceptional flash droughts due to longer durations and greater severities than other parts. Moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional flash droughts occurred at approximately 3–6-, 5–15-, 10–50-, and 30–200-yr intervals, respectively, based on the copula analysis.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Qinglong You, qlyou@fudan.edu.cn
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