The EU Commission is alarmed: Almost half of Europe is threatened by drought. Areas that already complained of drought in the spring are suffering further climate hardship in August. An improvement in the fall is probably not in sight, according to a report from Brussels.
The current drought in Europe is probably the worst in half a millennium, according to EU experts. “The drought appears to be the worst in at least 500 years,” said a spokesman for the EU Commission in Brussels. This is an initial assessment by the European Drought Observatory, he said, which still needs to be confirmed by final data at the end of the season.
In a report published Monday, researchers found that nearly half of Europe was at risk of drought. As of Aug. 10, drought warnings were issued for 47 percent of Europe’s territory, they said. In addition, the condition is already alarming on 17 percent of the land, they said. The drought is having a strong negative impact on the harvest of summer crops, with corn, soybeans and sunflowers the most affected, he said. The European Drought Observatory (EDO) is an institution of the European Commission.
- Price explosion on the energy market “Sheer panic” takes hold on the power exchange
- Twitter whistleblower alleges serious security issues at the firm
- The White House downgrades growth forecast for the US economy
The report added that the severe drought, which has affected many regions of Europe since the beginning of the year, has widened and worsened since early August. It was linked to a persistent lack of rainfall combined with a series of heat waves since May. This has also had an impact on river runoff, he said. The reduced volume of stored water has also resulted in severe impairments for the energy sector, both for hydropower generation and for the cooling systems of power plants, he said.
Mediterranean region without rain until mid-November
Drought risk had increased particularly in Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Hungary, northern Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In regions that had already been affected by drought in the spring of 2022, such as northern Italy, southeastern France, and some areas in Hungary and Romania, conditions had worsened the most. The western Euro-Mediterranean region, in particular, is likely to be warmer and drier than usual through November, he said.
Recent rainfall may have alleviated drought conditions in some regions of Europe, experts added. However, in some areas, associated thunderstorms had caused damage and losses that may have again limited the positive effects of the precipitation.