Application of an improved spatio-temporal identification method of flash droughts

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Gou, Qiqi
Zhu, Yonghua
Lü, Haishen
Horton, Robert
Yu, Xiaohan
Zhang, Haoqiang
Wang, Xiaoyi
Su, Jianbin
Liu, En
Ding, Zhenzhou
Wang, Zhenlong
Yuan, Fei
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© 2021 Elsevier B.V.
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Flash droughts are regional phenomena that can manifest in large areas with rapid intensification for a period of time. Few studies have considered the spatial pathways of flash droughts or their drought period. This study uses the five criteria based on the standardized evaporative stress ratio (SESR) method to identify flash droughts, and when a SESR value recovers to the 20th percentile, the flash drought is considered to terminate. To define spatially continuous flash droughts accurately, the usual order of first calculating drought patches and then identifying flash droughts is reversed to first identify flash droughts on the grid and then determine flash drought patches. In addition, this study tracks the spatial paths of flash droughts via centroid transfers of flash drought patches. Using MOD16 data, the methodology is evaluated by analyzing the regional characteristics of flash droughts in the Huaibei Plain of China from 2001 to 2019. The flash droughts in this region most frequently tracked in the northeast and west. The average flash drought duration was 31 days, of which the rapid intensification period was 18 days and drought period was 14 days. Flash drought events in this region mostly occurred in May, August and October, and east to west transition and non-transitions, which accounted for 44% and 22%, respectively, were the main spatial track paths. Only 26% of flash drought events transitioned to long term drought events. This study expands our knowledge of the evolution process of flash droughts to space-time dimensions, which is essential for flash droughts early warning and agricultural water management.
This is a manuscript of an article published as Gou, Qiqi, Yonghua Zhu, Haishen Lü, Robert Horton, Xiaohan Yu, Haoqiang Zhang, Xiaoyi Wang et al. "Application of an improved spatio-temporal identification method of flash droughts." Journal of Hydrology (2021): 127224. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.127224. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.
Agricultural drought, Spatio-temporal drought analysis, Standardized evaporative stress ratio