Brussels: Nearly half of Europe is at risk of drought, according to a report by the European Commission’s science and knowledge service (JRC).
The report, published on Monday, said that, as of August 10, 47 per cent of Europe’s territory has reached a warning level for drought while 17 per cent of the surveyed regions were on full alert, reports dpa news agency.
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 JRC report said, listing over a dozen countries where drought hazard has been increasing, including Germany, France and the UK.
“The rest of Europe, already affected by drought, maintains stable severely dry conditions,” the report added.
It 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.”