Using evaporative stress index to monitor flash drought in Australia

Nguyen, Hanh and Wheeler, Matthew C. and Otkin, Jason A. and Cowan, Tim and Frost, Andrew and Stone, Roger (2019) Using evaporative stress index to monitor flash drought in Australia. Environmental Research Letters, 14 (6):064016. pp. 1-9. ISSN 1748-9326

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Abstract

Flash drought is a term and concept that has gained increasing attention in the research literature and media since it was first coined in the United States in the early 2000s to describe a drought that has undergone rapid intensification. In Australia the term has recently been used in reference to the 2017/18 drought in eastern Australia. Due to its rapid intensification, the impacts of flash droughts will likely occur too quickly for many of the usual drought-coping mechanisms to be deployed. This study proposes the use of the evaporative stress index (ESI), the standardized anomaly of the actual evapotranspiration to potential evapotranspiration ratio, to identify flash droughts in Australia computed using daily outputs from the Bureau of Meteorology's land surface water balance model AWRA-L. The case study of the January 2018 flash drought in eastern Australia is used to assess and demonstrate the suitability of the ESI. Results show that the ESI accurately highlighted the event and offered potential for flash drought pre-warning by a few weeks. In addition, the availability of long term high-resolution outputs from AWRA-L offers the ability to investigate multiple flash drought events in detail for greater understanding and to inform stakeholders.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 02:46
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 01:03
Uncontrolled Keywords: evaporative stress index; Australia; flash drought
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040107 Meteorology
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370108 Meteorology
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370202 Climatology
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab2103
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36577

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