Severe drought spreading across Europe

June and July brought record high temperatures and big rainfall deficits in many parts of the European Union

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Drought conditions were widespread across Europe during June and July.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The western U.S. isn’t the only part of the world experiencing severe drought this year. Across much of central Europe, extremely warm temperatures and lack of rainfall have combined to create the worst drought conditions since 2003.

Hardest hit have been France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain, according to new information released by the European Drought Observatory. The report includes data from satellite imagery showing that the areas with the largest rainfall deficits also recorded exceptionally high maximum daily temperatures, in some cases reaching record values.

The new report covers June and July, highlighting the fact that this year’s drought was even longer and more intense than in 2003. In  the entire Mediterranean region, and particularly in Spain, maximum daily temperatures consistently reached above 30 degrees Celsius for up to 40 days in a row.

Some economic sectors may have benefited from the warm and dry conditions, including tourism, wine-growing and solar energy, but those gains may be offset by impacts to other sectors. Restrictions on water supplies in some areas affected agriculture, and there were impacts to forestry, energy production and human health.

The report says rainfall is urgently needed in the coming months, and there may some relief in Southern Europe, according to the latest seasonal outlook, but western, central and eastern Europe are projected to stay dry.

The warm and dry weather was widespread across Europe. In June, Spain, Benelux, Germany and France recorded maximum daily temperatures that were 8 to 10 degrees Celsius above average.

It got even hotter in July, when multiple locations in Europe recorded all-time high readings and maximum daily temperatures reached above 34 to 35 degrees across almost the entire EU.

euro rainIn France, Benelux, western Germany, northern Italy, northern Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Belarus, the rainfall deficit was greater than 100-130 mm, representing a reduction of about 50-60 percent, and in some cases even 80 percent, compared to the long-term average.

European drought report

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