Extreme drought in Europe worst since 2003

This years summer (April-July) in central Europe have been one of rainless weeks and relentless heat, as expected from climate models. Similarly to the summer of 2003, a large part of the continental EU was affected by a severe drought in June and July 2015, as a consequence of the combination of rain shortages and very high temperatures which resulted in high plant water requirement (evapotranspiration) levels. France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy, and northern Spain experienced particularly exceptional dry conditions.

Agricultural production has suffered in large parts of central France, south-central Germany and into Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and southwards into northern Italy and Spain. Grain harvests in Germany have fallen 11% and apple harvests 21%, while France expect a 28% drop in corn output. Record low river water levels in Poland have revealed Jewish tombstones and Soviet fighter planes, as well as human remains from the second world war. 

Some parts of Germany have the lowest levels of soil moisture since records began in 1951. Restrictions to industrial and civil water use have been imposed. Monthly rainfall averages fell by as much as 80% in parts of France and northern Spain experienced daily temperatures over 30 degrees for more than 40 days.

Areas with the lowest soil moisture content since 1990 in July 2015 (in red) and in July 2003 (in blue). Source: European Drought Observatory


Out of the ashes into the fire

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