Drought conditions in the EU and UK affect 63% of the land

The new numbers are a slight increase from the 10-day period earlier in July, with 46% of the land now covered with “alerts,” meaning there is a moisture deficit in the soil, while 17% is below the most dangerous “alert” level, as The vegetation cover is stressed. The area is also larger than the three largest US states — Alaska, Texas, and California — combined.

The map accompanying the data shows a high concentration of the most severe alert level in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungary and Romania.

An update on Wednesday by the UK’s Center for Environment and Hydrology suggested that warmer-than-average temperatures and below-average precipitation are likely to affect the southeast, mostly England, through October. Water companies in these areas are considering further bans on water hoses for millions of customers in the coming weeks.

Most of Europe was drier than average in July, the European Union’s climate monitoring agency, Copernicus, said on Monday, with many local records broken in the west due to poor rainfall and drought hitting several parts of southwest and southeast Europe. .

These conditions facilitated the spread and intensification of wildfires, which are also fueled by successive heat waves in parts of Europe, in what is shaping up to be one of the hottest summers on the continent, Copernicus said in his monthly climate update.

The new data comes as the world grapples with a food crisis that is only waning as Russia lifts its embargo on grain exports from Ukraine. Extreme weather and supply chain issues have exacerbated the crisis and are likely to continue for some time.

A recent report by the Joint Research Centre, the scientific service of the European Commission, projected an 8-9% decline in corn, sunflower and soybean production in the EU due to hot, dry conditions during the summer, well below the five. year average.

“Dry conditions from the previous months combined with the high temperatures and lower rainfall seen in many regions during July may have negative impacts on agricultural production and other industries such as river transport and energy production,” said Freya Famburg, chief Copernican scientist.

Months with little rain

In July, water reservoirs in several parts of Europe were at very low levels, insufficient to sustain demand, according to Copernicus.

Southern England had its driest July since records began in 1836, while across the UK it was the driest July month in more than 20 years. The UK saw only 46.3 mm, or 56%, of average rainfall for the month following a long period of drier-than-average months, with the exception of February.

In France, July saw a total of 9.7 mm of precipitation, making it the driest July since records began in 1959 and representing a rainfall deficit of 85% compared to the 1991-2020 average.

A pool of water on the almost dry bottom of the Rhine River in Cologne, western Germany.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the lack of rain since December 2021 hit the northern parts of the country and the Po River dried up completely in some places earlier this summer. In mid-July in Cremona – about halfway along the Po River – the water was more than 8 meters below hydrographic zero, which affected hydropower production, agriculture and transportation.

Copernicus said the situation improved as a result of rainfall at the end of the month, which led to a 40cm increase in the river, although hydroelectric production in the area is still affected.

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Copernicus said July was also one of the three warmest globally, registering nearly 0.4 degrees Celsius above the 1991-2020 average, and the sixth hottest July in Europe.

Spain, France and the UK saw at least one day above 40°C last month. In the UK, temperatures soared above 40°C (104.5°F) on July 19 with the English village of Coningsby recording 40.3°C for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, Spain announced on Monday the warmest month of July in more than 60 years.

“July 2022 was extremely hot in Spain, the warmest since at least 1961, with an average temperature of 25.6 degrees Celsius. [78.1 Fahrenheit]which is 2.7 ° C [4.9 Fahrenheit] “Above normal,” the country’s national weather agency said in a Twitter post. July was 0.2°C. [0.4 Fahrenheit] higher than July 2015, which has by far been the warmest month of July.”

CNN’s Benjamin Brown and Molly Stasker also contributed to this report from London.

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