Extreme drought expected in Europe every 20 years

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Extreme drought expected in Europe every 20 years

As a result of climate change, Western and Central Europe must expect extreme droughts every 20 years, such as this summer, even if the earth does not warm any further. This is the conclusion of an international team of about 20 researchers who, among other things, compared weather data from the pre-industrial era with that of today.

According to this data, droughts in western and central Europe have become at least three to four times more likely after about 1.2 degrees Celsius of man-made global warming. That’s according to the study of the World Weather Attribution initiative. Without global warming, a drought like this year in Europe would only be expected every 60 to 80 years, according to scientists.

In June, July and August of this year, the researchers paid particular attention to the dryness of the soil. They looked at the first meter below the earth’s surface, which is especially important for the water supply of plants. When this has dried up, experts speak of an agricultural and ecological drought.

Lower harvests due to drought
The researchers can show that higher temperatures due to climate change led to widespread droughts this summer. “Droughts in Europe have led to lower harvests,” German climate researcher Friederike Otto of Imperial College London said in a statement.

“This was particularly concerning as the droughts followed the heatwaves linked to climate change in South Asia, which have also destroyed the grain crop – all at a time when food prices were already extremely high as a result of the war in China. Ukraine.” This summer was one of the hottest ever recorded in Europe with a total of more than 24,000 heat deaths recorded.

Drastic Results for Northern Hemisphere
In addition to western and central Europe, the researchers also looked at the increase in droughts across the northern hemisphere and came up with even more drastic results. There the chance of a drought summer like this year has even increased twentyfold.

While such droughts can now be expected every 20 years, without human-induced climate change, they would only occur about every 400 years. However, the researchers point out that the results for the Northern Hemisphere and for Western and Central Europe are not directly comparable due to the different areas.

Source: Krone

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