Sunday, August 06, 2017

Flash Drought In US High Plains May Have Already Destroyed Half Of This Year’s Wheat Crop

August 5th, 2017 by James Ayre

The “flash drought” that came out of nowhere this summer in the US High Plains, afflicting Montana and the Dakotas the worst, has already destroyed more than half of this year’s wheat crop, going by some recent field surveys. Considering that the region is now one of the top wheat-growing regions in the world, the damage is very notable.

What’s particularly “interesting” about the situation is how quickly the drought developed. It arose over just the last ~3 months — hence the phrase “flash drought” — and it quickly worsened. The US Drought Monitor recently upgraded the drought to “exceptional” — matching the intensity of the relatively recent drought in California, but developing over a shorter period of time.

These so-called flash droughts are expected to become considerably more common over the coming decades as the climate continues warming and weather patterns continue changing.

The area now being affected (the High Plains), it should be remembered, are expected to essentially turn to desert over the coming decades and centuries


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