Do droughts self-propagate and self-intensify?

Droughts cause agricultural loss, forest mortality and drinking water scarcity. Still today, our knowledge of how meteorological droughts start and evolve remains limited.

Land feedbacks have been suggested as a key reason for their occurrence: as soil and vegetation dry-out the chances of upcoming rainfall may be lowered. However, climate and forecast models are immature when it comes to representing these feedbacks.


Do climate models underestimate the feedback from land on climate? If that is the case, future drought aggravation may be greater than expected.


Using novel satellite and in situ observations in combination with new mechanistic models, we uncover the triggers and drivers of meteorological droughts, and the potential of land management to dampen these events.

This will enable progress towards accurate short-term and long-term meteorological drought forecasts and better societal adaptation.