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Drought in Europe 2022
Europe has been burning. As a brutal drought and record-breaking heat gripped the continent this summer, crops withered and forest fires raged.
Europe is suffering through its worst drought in 500 years, says the European Drought Observatory, a service run by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.
The current situation
- Almost half of Europe is experiencing a severe drought.
- France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK are among the countries that have been exposed to the high levels of drought.
- Impacted agriculture and drinking water supplies
- disruption in Europe’s waterways
- Corn in Romania
- Rice in Italy
- Beans in Belgium
- Beets and garlic in France
- Olives in Spain
Olive Crop of Spain:
- The Olive trees thrive in a Mediterranean climate and need a minimal amount of rain.
- Spain produces half of the world’s olive oil. It is often called the olive oil capital of the world.
Factors responsible for the drought
- The currently rainfall deficit is mostly attributed to a weakened jet stream bringing moisture from Atlantic to Europe, combined with frequent heatwaves hitting all around the planet and Europe.
- Over a couple of years, Europe has undergone dryness. The shift may be linked to a high-pressure system in the North Atlantic known as the Azores High, which has expanded as the planet has warmed.
What is The Azores High?
- The Azores High is a large subtropical semi-permanent centre of high atmospheric pressure typically found south of the Azores archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Formed by dry air descending in the subtropics, the Azores High, which usually sits off Spain, has grown larger and is being pushed northwards.
- This has brought scorching temperatures to the UK, France and the Iberian peninsula.
- The size and intensity of the Azores high shifts year on year, driving variations in rainfall levels over the continent.
- As such, it's been referred to as a ‘gatekeeper of precipitation' over Europe.
- While it usually sits off Spain, it has recently grown larger and is being pushed further north, bringing scorching temperatures to the UK, France, and the Iberian peninsula.
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