Almost half of Europe at risk of drought: Report

Almost half of Europe at risk of drought: Report

ROME, 23rd August, 2022 (WAM) -- Nearly half of Europe is threatened by drought, according to a report by the European Commission's science and knowledge service (JRC) published on Monday.

The German Press Agency (dpa) quoted the report as saying that, as of 10th August, 47% of Europe's territory has reached a warning level for drought while 17% of surveyed regions are on full alert.

Researchers said dry conditions are related to scarce rain, and a number of heatwaves from May onwards that have affected river discharges widely across Europe. Reduced water volumes have also adversely affected the energy sector for both hydropower generation and cooling systems of other power plants.

The drought has substantially reduced yields for summer crop harvests, with corn, soybeans and sunflowers most affected, the researchers said.

Soil moisture and vegetation stress are both severely affected, the report said, listing over a dozen countries where drought hazard has been increasing, including Germany, France and Britain.

The rest of Europe, already affected by drought, maintains stable, severely dry conditions, according to the report.

The report said regions, where conditions are worsening the most, are those that were already affected by drought in spring 2022 - for example, northern Italy, south-eastern France, and some areas in Hungary and Romania.

Researchers are forecasting that conditions warmer and drier than normal are likely until November in the western Euro-Mediterranean region.

Recent precipitation (mid-August) may have alleviated drought conditions in some regions of Europe, the experts said. However, in some areas, associated thunderstorms caused damages, losses, and may have limited the beneficial effects of precipitation.