Europe: The last drought was the worst in 250 years

A team of international researchers, under the wing of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Germany, writes that no drought covering such a large part of the continent has been observed for so long since the mid-18th century. their work, Posted in March In the Journal of the American Geophysical Union, he reconstructs all droughts documented in Europe since 1766.

Scientists define as “drought” the period when the water content in the first two meters of soil drops below the 20% level of the driest years of the past two and a half centuries. Between 2018 and 2020, this was the case for an unusually large region, including France, Germany and the Czech Republic. and unusually long, since the average duration of drought since the eighteenth century has been 13 months. All this is accompanied by an average increase in temperature of 2.8 ° C compared to the normal.

The researchers also note that this drought extended into 2021 in the deeper soils: the highest precipitation apparently did not exceed two meters deep.

Among other results: a 20-40% decrease in maize production in Germany and France. Wheat production fell by 17.5% in Germany; Barley production fell by 10% in almost all of Europe.

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