New Report on Flash Drought: Current Understanding & Future Priorities

Some droughts occur with such rapid onset that it seems as if they appear in a “flash,” rendering them and their consequences hard to predict and prepare for. These flash droughts can have substantial agricultural and economic consequences, including billions of dollars in losses. Notable flash droughts over the past several years have included the Central U.S. in 2012, Northern Plains in 2017, and Southeast U.S. in 2016 and 2019. NIDIS held a virtual workshop in December 2020 to explore characteristics and definitions of flash drought, and to coordinate and co-develop a research agenda to address its associated management challenges. This report describes the workshop’s key takeaways and provides a list of priority actions to help both NIDIS and the broader research community advance flash drought research activities and tool development. Additionally, NIDIS held a webinar on August 3 recapping the report.
News & Updates
Research Shows Human Activities are Behind a Rapid Increase in Earth's Heat

new study by Princeton University and NOAA has found clear evidence of human influence on Earth’s climate in the past two decades of satellite measurements. The researchers used results from nearly 50 climate models to get a sense of what Earth’s energy balance would be like if there were no humans. The models consistently indicated that without the influence of humans, the energy imbalance increase would not be as large as the observed increase.
Letters of Intent Due for NIDIS Coping With Drought Research Competitions

Since 2007, NIDIS has funded more than 60 innovative drought research projects through the Coping with Drought research competition. For Fiscal Year 2022, NIDIS is hosting two separate Coping with Drought competitions: Ecological Drought and Building Tribal Drought Resilience. Letters of Intent should be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on August 9, 2021. Full applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on October 18, 2021.  
USDA Invests $15 Million in Klamath River Basin

The USDA is investing $15 million for a new drought pilot to assist agricultural producers impacted by worsening drought conditions to provide relief to impacted California and Oregon producers in the Klamath River Basin. The block grant will provide payments to producers to reduce irrigation demand. This will assist in allowing the limited supply of water to be used for other practices that are vital to the region’s food supply and to reduce adverse impacts to producers in the region and supply and distribution chains. Learn more >
August Drought and Wildfire Outlooks
The August Drought Outlook by the NWS Climate Prediction Center sees more monsoon related improvements across New Mexico and Arizona, as well as slivers of California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. However, drought is still expected to mostly remain in the Southwest. Degradations are expected for most of Nebraska and into South Dakota and Iowa. Hawaii is also looking at further degradations. Otherwise, drought is mostly expected to persist for another month from the West Coast across to parts of the Upper Midwest. Parts of the Northeast are also expected to stay in drought.

The August Wildfire Outlook sees above normal fire potential in much of the Northwest, Northern Rockies, Northern Plains, and into Minnesota. All of Hawaii has above normal wildfire potential as do parts of California and Nevada.

Events & Webinars
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) was authorized by Congress in 2006 (Public Law 109-430) with an interagency mandate to develop and provide a national drought early warning information system, by coordinating and integrating drought research, and building upon existing federal, tribal, state, and local partnerships.