Europe Plagued by ‘One of the Worst Droughts since 2003’
Posted by feww on August 21, 2015
Severe drought has severely affected Europe this summer
Parts of western, central and eastern Europe could continue to experience severe drought conditions in the foreseeable future, forecasters have warned.
Severe drought has affected much of the European continent since June 2015, one of the worst since the drought and heat wave of summer of 2003, according to the latest report by the JRC’s European Drought Observatory (EDO). “The drought, which particularly affects France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, northern Italy and northern Spain, is caused by a combination of prolonged rain shortages and exceptionally high temperatures,” said the report.
The prolonged rainfall shortage (since April) and the temperature anomalies in July caused a severe drought which affected soil moisture content and vegetation conditions. Furthermore, the areas with the largest rainfall deficits also recorded exceptionally high maximum daily temperatures: in some cases these reached record values.
Another characteristic of this period was the persistence of the thermal anomalies: in the entire Mediterranean region, and particularly in Spain, the heat wave was even longer than that of 2003, with maximum daily temperatures consistently above 30°C for durations of 30 to 35 days (even more than 40 days in Spain).
Areas with the lowest soil moisture content since 1990 in July 2015 (in red) and in July 2003 (in blue). Source: JRC-EDEA database (EDO)
Almost the entire European continent has been experiencing temperatures that were significantly above the seasonal norm since the beginning of June 2015. Spain, Benelux, Germany and France recorded maximum daily temperatures of up to 10°C above normal values in June., said the report. “Conditions got even worse in July, with absolute maximum daily values above 34-35°C in almost the entire EU and absolute maximum temperatures that were well above 40°C in many areas (e.g. 47.3°C in Apulia, 46.5°C in Andalucia, 46.2°C in southern Bulgaria and outhern Romania, 45.7°C in Alentejo, 44.7° in Sicily). Moreover, several areas in Germany, Benelux, France, Spain, Italy and even in Austria, the Czech Republic, the UK and Sweden recorded their highest maximum daily temperatures for July since 1975.”
Drought News August 2015 by EDO is posted at