October 2, 2022

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Europe is struggling with the worst drought in the last 500 years: Romania, among the countries affected by precipitation

Romania is among the European states where the danger of drought has increased due to the low level of precipitation in the last three months. Also, the severe drought and heat waves affected the vegetation in Romania.

Several EU member states have taken measures to restrict water supply

Several EU member states have taken measures to restrict water supply. In the coming months, until November 2022, the weather in the western Euro-Mediterranean region is expected to be warmer and drier than average. In recent days, rainfall has eased drought conditions in some regions, but presented new challenges, such as severe storms.

The latest update of the Combined Drought Indicator (CDI), including the first ten days of August 2022, shows that 47% of Europe is under warning conditions and 17% under alert conditions. Soil moisture and vegetation are seriously affected. The danger of drought has increased, especially in: Romania, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, northern Serbia, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

In addition, regions already affected by drought in the spring of 2022 (for example, some regions of Romania and Hungary, northern Italy, southeastern France) meet the conditions for a worsening of the situation.

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The most affected countries

The regions most affected by negative rainfall anomalies in the last three months until August 10, 2022 are: Romania, central and southern Portugal; Spain; the south of France; central Italy; Switzerland; southern Germany; an extended region in Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Republic of Moldova; extensive regions of the Western Balkans.

One of the most relevant aggravating effects of the drought, also reflected by the CDI, is the decrease in the anomaly values ​​of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (FAPAR) compared to the long-term average. Some regions present more pronounced negative anomalies, highlighting widespread stress conditions on the vegetation: the west and east of Romania, the low regions of Italy, Hungary. Elsewhere, conditions remain largely stable.

Moreover, the regions most affected in terms of worsening vegetation conditions are: Romania, central and southern United Kingdom, eastern Ireland, Germany, northern and central Italy, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Finland and northwestern Russia . Slight improvements are visible only in the north-east of France, Switzerland and some regions of the Iberian Peninsula.

“The combination of severe drought and heat waves has created unprecedented stress on water levels across the EU”

According to the report, the evolution and impact of the prolonged drought on the territory of the European Union states confirms the worrying situation from July 2022. Thus, weather warning conditions still exist on 47% of the EU territory, which means that the precipitation was lower than average, and the humidity the soil is deficient.

In addition, 17% of the Member States are in a state of alert, which means that vegetation and crops are also negatively affected by drought. In total, 64% of Europe is under a warning or alert, which also contributes to the widespread expansion of areas at risk of fire throughout the EU bloc.

The combination of severe drought and heat waves has created unprecedented stress on water levels across the EU. We find that we are currently facing an above-average wildfire season, with an important impact on plant production. Climate change is undoubtedly becoming more visible every year“, said the commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel.

Stress from water shortages and increasing heatwaves is negatively affecting summer crop yields, as shown in the August 2022 JRC MARS Bulletin.

Current EU yield forecasts for grain maize, soybeans and sunflowers are as follows: 16%, 15% and 12% below the 5-year average. Low precipitation has dried up rivers in Europe, negatively impacting the energy sector, both hydropower plants and the cooling systems of other types of power plants, as well as river transport.

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