Flash droughts present a new challenge for subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction

Angeline G. Pendergrass, Gerald A. Meehl, Roger Pulwarty, Mike Hobbins, Andrew Hoell, Amir AghaKouchak, Céline J.W. Bonfils, Ailie J.E. Gallant, Martin Hoerling, David Hoffmann, Laurna Kaatz, Flavio Lehner, Dagmar Llewellyn, Philip Mote, Richard B. Neale, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Amanda Sheffield, Kerstin Stahl, Mark Svoboda, Matthew C. WheelerAndrew W. Wood, Connie A. Woodhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


Flash droughts are a recently recognized type of extreme event distinguished by sudden onset and rapid intensification of drought conditions with severe impacts. They unfold on subseasonal-to-seasonal timescales (weeks to months), presenting a new challenge for the surge of interest in improving subseasonal-to-seasonal prediction. Here we discuss existing prediction capability for flash droughts and what is needed to establish their predictability. We place them in the context of synoptic to centennial phenomena, consider how they could be incorporated into early warning systems and risk management, and propose two definitions. The growing awareness that flash droughts involve particular processes and severe impacts, and probably a climate change dimension, makes them a compelling frontier for research, monitoring and prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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