Over half of Europe facing worst drought in 500 years
Brussels, Aug 23 (EFE).- Over half of Europe is facing what could be the worst drought in 500 years, data released by the European Commission’s science and knowledge service showed Tuesday.
The preliminary research from the Joint Research Center (JRC) found that 64% of Europe is under a drought warning or alert, driven by a persistent lack of rainfall combined with a series of heatwaves since May this year.
“The latest update of the Combined Drought Indicator (CDI), including the first ten days of August 2022, points to 47% of Europe being in warning conditions and 17% in alert conditions,” the report said.
Experts warned the drought has severely affected river charges across the continent as well as “substantially” reduced summer crops’ yields. Forecasts for grain yields this year are down 16% from the five-year average and below 15% for maize.
The report added that reduced stored water volumes have had “severe impacts” on the energy sector amid a looming energy crisis driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Warmer and drier than usual conditions are likely to occur in the western Euro-Mediterranean region in the coming months till November 2022,” experts warned.
The dry conditions are further increasing the risk of forest fires, especially in Spain, France and Portugal where the risk of wildfires is “high-to-extreme” in places.
“The effects of climate change are becoming more evident every year,” the Commission said. EFE