What caused the unusually hot and dry weather, and threaten Europe’s hunger?
According to the world meteorological organization (WMO) in the first half of the summer cause of the drought became prolonged periods of hot weather, record high temperatures and extremely low rainfall.
Already the spring months, April and may, were the warmest in the last several decades. And June and July temperatures were well above average, especially in the countries of Northern Europe.
Summer temperatures are stepped in 30°C North of the Arctic circle in Norway, the thermometer 17 July rose to a record high of 33.5°C, while Finland had its hottest July in the history of observations.
Rainfall was also extremely low: the map precipitation, compiled by specialists of the European climate Observatory visible large areas of “extreme drought”, which stretches from Belgium and the Netherlands to Finland and Estonia.
The causes of the drought
Scientists point to a combination of several factors such as global climate change on the planet and area of high atmospheric pressure, which remained stationary over the European territory for an extended period.
It is not clear what causes the anticyclone to remain “locked” for such a long time. Scientists suggest the global warming impact and high temperature waters of the World ocean.
“The effect of global climate change is already quite apparent. And this is a clear reminder that a collective effort needs to be much more serious than what we see today. We need to save the world economy from hydrocarbon dependence, says Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, one of the leading klimatologi the world. And this applies to human activities in all sectors: as soon as possible to get rid of fossil energy sources. This requires a strong political will, which we still have not seen.”
What European countries have suffered the most?
Farmers across Europe are preparing for one of the worst vintages in the history of our generation, and the yield of some vegetable crops will be reduced by 50%.
Grain yields declined in France, Italy, great Britain and the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe, and in Germany and Scandinavia is assessed as catastrophic.
It is not clear what impact the drought will have on consumer prices, but the farmers were already under economic pressure due to… prices for hay. Many of them had this summer to buy hay, feed as the grass, which usually graze their herds this year and has not grown.
In Norway, rising electricity prices — due to the high dependence on hydropower plants.
Wheat harvest in Sweden may be reduced this year by more than 40% due to dry and hot weather.
The drought led to many forest fires, the geography which this year extends all the way to the Arctic circle.
Finnish farmers suffered losses due to wet and cold weather last year, and this summer drought.
Temperature at the beginning of August approached in Finland to around 30°C, although the average for August is 19°C. Given that few in the country to use air conditioning, one of the supermarkets in Helsinki offered to spend the night in the refrigerated room 100.
Many areas of England and Wales has not seen rain since the end of may this year). Due to the dry weather greatly reduced the growth of grass and grain. However, it is because of this archaeologists have found traces of ancient memorial, hidden under the ground.
“These unprecedented weather conditions should be a signal for all of us, — said the head of the NSF Minette Butters, Is a kind of reminder that we should not consider food production as a matter of course”.
65% of arable land affected by drought. May in Poland was the warmest in the last 55 years.
In Germany, the may temperatures were the highest since 1881. According to forecasts, grain harvest in the country this year will fall because of the drought, 20%.
“In many areas farmers suffer from a lack of hard feed,” he acknowledged in early August, Minister of agriculture of Germany Julia Klokner. According to her, some farmers are forced to cut costs by sending animals to slaughter earlier than planned.
According to the Estonian weather service, rainfall in may was 60% lower than the national average according to the norm, and the number of Sunny days increased by 48%.
From 30% to 70% of the crop this summer could be lost, said the Minister of agriculture of Estonia Tarmo Tamm.
Farmers considering selling the cattle because farms not enough food. The government has already allocated 20 million euros to farmers affected by drought.
Drought in Latvia was “a national disaster”, which was announced in June. Farmers sell cattle for lack of feed.
“Last year we had heavy rains and floods: my field was under water and I wasn’t able to harvest, — has told in interview to Agency AFP Dainis Rotenbergs, whose farm is located near the town of Dobele. And this year the opposite. I am very concerned about the payment of interest on Bank loans”.
Latvian Horticultural Association has warned that this year may be lost 90% of the harvest of cranberries, 60% strawberry and 40% to 50% of the harvest of apples and pears.
The Lithuanian government has declared a national emergency in July. According to the Ministry of agriculture, yield of agricultural crops decreased by 15-50% in comparison with 2006 levels.
The country turned to the EU requesting permission to graze cattle on the land reserved for the preservation of the environment.
It is expected that total grain production in Lithuania will decline from drought to 5.5 million tons, which is 13% less than last year.
The Swiss army in August had surgery for the delivery of water through the air for cows on the mountain pastures, which suffered from the hot weather.
The Federal government reduces import tariffs on livestock feed to help farmers fight the drought.
Philip Leuba, head of economy and sport in the government said that Switzerland has not seen such a drought since 1921.
From flowing through the Swiss Rhine fished tons of dead fish suffocated from lack of oxygen in hot water.
According to Trees Tofta, representative of the Ministry of agriculture and food of Denmark, the drought has affected Denmark as the spring harvest of grain and vegetables decreased by 40-50%.
The industry’s losses will cost 8.5 billion Swedish kronor (about 828 million euros).
“We have not seen anything like that in the last 150 years, he said. — When you drive in Denmark, then it is not the country that we used to see. Some farmers will go bankrupt — that’s for sure. If anyone of them had problems before the drought, this is now the situation will push them to collapse.”
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