Europe in drought: the worst in 500 years; dry rivers and high temperatures

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Europe is experiencing its worst drought in at least 500 years, With almost two-thirds of the continent in a state of alert or warning, an agency of the Union European (EU).

In its analytical report for August, the European Drought Observatory (EDO) said that around 47% of Europe is in a warning condition due to a severe lack of soil moisture.

Large regions of European Community countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Agermany, The Netherlands and others from outside the EU, such as Great Britain or Ukraine, are in increasing “danger of drought”, according to experts.

Total, they calculate that 17% of European territory is in the red alert category, compared to 11% in July. Countries have experienced temperatures higher than 45°C, and up to 47ºC,

Insufficient crops due to drought in Europe?

The current drought seems to be the worst in at least 500 yearsas confirmed by the preliminary assessment, the European Commission said in a statement.

Europe is in a drought, the worst in 500 years; dry rivers and high temperatures. Photo: Cuartoscuro/Archive

Summer crops have suffered from a drought with grain corn yields for 2022 set to be 16 percent below the previous five-year average and soybean and sunflower yields expected to decrease by 15% and 12%respectively.

The German Farmers Association (DBV) said the harvest of Germany could be reduced by 30 or 40% in case of prolonged drought.

According to data from the Italian association of small and medium farmers, the drought will reduce around 30% of the harvest of Italy’s rice and nearly a third of fruit and vegetable production.

Rivers with worrying levels due to drought in Europe?

Low water levels have hampered inland navigation along the river rhine and elsewhere, with reduced shipping charges affecting the transportation of coal and oil.

in western germanylevel drop from the Rhine to Due to the strong summer heat, river navigation is difficult, which is causing supply problems in the area and weighing on a german economy already weakened.

The threat of a partial closure of river traffic on this riverone of the busiest in the world, has become a additional puzzle for German industry, hit by the crisis of russian gas and the strong increase in energy prices because of the war in Ukraine.

Barges on the Rhine can only operate at a 25% of its capacity. The Danube in Tulcea, Romania, has a water level of only 51 centimeterswhile the minimum standard for safe browsing is 57 centimeters. The Po River, Italy’s longest river, recently fell to its lowest level under 70 years.

And what about electricity in Europe?

Hydroelectric power generation has also taken a hit. Hydroelectric power generation in Europe in the first seven months of this year was a 20% lower than in the same period last year, and nuclear power generation was 12% lower.

Forest fires and high temperatures in Europe?

The number of European forest fires is significantly higher than average. According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), from January to mid-August more than 740 thousand hectares of forests in the EU, a record for the same period since they began records in 2006.