Saving Lives by Predicting Global Drought
Saving Lives by Predicting Global Drought.
Drought has long been hard to predict, but new research will now help forecasters develop early warnings.
But a new study could help because it reveals certain quite-specific geographic patterns that some regional droughts follow over and over again.
After analyzing thousands of droughts on all continents over a 30-year period, an international team of researchers found that about 10 percent of droughts follow predictable tracks.
The University of California–Irvine estimates that the California drought cost the state $1.8 billion and more than 10,000 jobs in 2015.
“It’s hard to predict where a drought might start.
But once the drought starts, if we understand the dynamics, we might be able to predict how it will evolve.” “For comparison, think of tropical cyclones.
“If we start seeing drought as dynamic events, as dry anomalies that travel, we might be able to forecast them in similar ways.
So we looked: What are the important physical drivers that make them move?
They found patterns on every continent and concluded that about 10 percent of the droughts — often the most intense — follow similar tracks.