According to a team of scientists, even in the oceans, there can be low humidity conditions leading to intense droughts. Worse, this can touch land and cause serious impacts.
Meteorologists complain that with these droughts they are unable to track hurricanes that arise from the oceans. Thus, they are unable to predict where and when they will land. Consequently, they cannot prepare the population for possible impacts.
For this reason, a team of scientists from Stanford University has embarked on the adventure of overcoming this challenge. In this process, they discovered that a type of drought also originates in the oceans.
This drought is able to migrate towards land and cause extreme conventional droughts.
Droughts originating in the oceans
“We instinctively think that there cannot be droughts in the oceans for the simple fact of being contradictory. However, and as on land, there may be times when large regions of the ocean experience less rain than normal, leading to drought conditions.” Argued Julio Herrera-Estrada, lead author of the research.
According to researchers, of all the droughts that affected the world since 1981, one in six originated within the oceans.
In order to identify these droughts, they used a special apparatus. This apparatus tracks algorithm to identify and track clusters of moisture deficits around the world that date back decades in time.
Through these data, they discovered that these types of droughts grew approximately three times faster than a terrestrial one.
“Not all droughts that form in the oceans are harmful to terrestrial ecosystems. However, there is something in their origin that makes them big and intense phenomena”. Said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist and another of the study’s lead authors.
The researchers analyzed the physical processes that take place in the formation of these droughts. The North American region was their main target.
They discovered that its origin is associated with certain atmospheric pressure patterns that significantly reduce humidity and increase the strength of droughts.
“Our document shows that droughts that form in the oceans are a global phenomenon that affects all continents. It will definitely be necessary for other studies to focus more on the physical processes relevant to each individual region ”, Julio Herrera-Estrada pointed out.
“Due to the large human and economic impacts of severe droughts, the potential for forecasting these types of droughts may warrant further investigation,” the experts have concluded.