A European Union body reported on Tuesday that Europe is experiencing its worst drought in at least 500 years, with two-thirds of the continent under alert or warning, decreasing inland transportation, electricity output, and food harvests. According to the European Drought Observatory (EDO), which is under the control of the European Commission, 47 percent of Europe is experiencing warning circumstances due to an obvious soil moisture shortage, and 17 percent is experiencing alert conditions due to vegetation problems.
The report added that the western Europe-Mediterranean region was likely to experience warmer and drier than normal conditions until November. “The severe drought affecting many regions of Europe since the beginning of the year has been further expanding and worsening as of early August,” it said.
This summer, a large portion of Europe experienced weeks of oppressive heat, which exacerbated the drought, sparked wildfires, prompted health alerts, and increased calls for climate change mitigation. If final data at the end of the season verified the preliminary estimate, the current drought appeared to be the worst in at least 500 years, the Commission said in a statement.
Summer crops have been harmed; yields for grain maize in 2022 are projected to be 16 percent lower than the average of the preceding five years, and yields for soybeans and sunflowers are projected to decline by 15 and 12 percent, respectively. Due to a lack of water to feed cooling systems, the production of hydropower has been hampered, with additional effects on other power producers.
Low water levels have made it difficult to convey goods inland, such as coal and oil, as shown along the Rhine. Rainfall in the middle of August, according to the EDO, may have improved the situation, but in some areas, it was accompanied by thunderstorms that worsened the situation. Measurements of rainfall, soil moisture, and the percentage of solar energy absorbed by plants for photosynthesis are used to create the observatory’s drought indicator.
EU monitor lowers forecast for summer agricultural yield due to dry weather
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