NewsEurope lives its worst drought in 500 years and...

Europe lives its worst drought in 500 years and reveals new stones of hunger

Europe is facing the worst drought in at least 500 years and almost two-thirds of its territory is in a state of alert or warning due to heat waves and low rainfall, which reduces inland navigation, electricity production and the yield of some crops, an EU agency reported on Tuesday.

The August report of the European Drought Observatory (EDO), supervised by the European Commission, indicates that 47% of Europe is in an alert situation, with a clear deficit of moisture in the soil, and 17% in a state of alert, in which the vegetation is affected.

“The severe drought that has affected many regions of Europe since the beginning of the year has been spreading and worsening since the beginning of August,” the report said, adding that western Europe and the Mediterranean region are likely to experience warmer conditions and dry than normal until November.

Much of Europe has faced weeks of scorching temperatures this summer, deepening drought, sparking wildfires, triggering health alerts and prompting calls for more action to tackle climate change.

The current drought appears to be the worst in at least 500 years, assuming final data at the end of the season confirm the preliminary assessment, the Commission said in a statement.

Summer harvests have been affected, as grain corn yields in 2022 will be 16% lower than the average of the previous five years and those of soybeans and sunflowers will fall by 15% and 12% respectively.

Hydroelectric power generation has been affected, with a greater impact on other energy producers due to the scarcity of water to feed cooling systems.

The low water level has made inland navigation difficult, for example along the Rhine, and the reduction in maritime cargo has affected the transport of coal and oil.

The EDO said rains in mid-August may have eased conditions, but in some cases they have come in the form of thunderstorms that have caused further damage.

The observatory’s drought indicator is based on measurements of rainfall, soil moisture, and the fraction of solar radiation absorbed by plants for photosynthesis.

Reuters information.

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