A recent study conducted at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) has found that the development rate of flash droughts in India has significantly increased over the last four decades and is projected to continue increasing in the near future. The study, conducted by research scholar Shanti Shwarup Mahto, focused on the impact of flash droughts on rice, maize, and wheat crops in India.
The research found that over 80% of country-level flash droughts occurred during the monsoon season, and the frequency and development rate of flash droughts increased in the eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhatisgarh, as well as the North East. Flash droughts were found to have a significant impact on agriculture, affecting about 10-15% of rice and maize grown areas each year.
According to the study, the Himalayan region and Northeast India are projected to experience more flash drought events in the future, while western Indian parts have recorded fewer flash droughts due to higher soil moisture from recent rain. The study highlights the need to understand and address the implications of flash droughts in India and globally, as they pose a risk to global croplands and agricultural production.
Mahto emphasizes the importance of understanding flash droughts in the observed and projected future climate for adaptation and mitigation purposes. The study also points out that flash droughts affect global agricultural demand, particularly for crops such as rice, maize, and wheat. The research concludes that flash droughts are increasing globally, and there will be an uptick in the trend in the future.