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A quarter of Europe has already dried up in April, and this year’s harvest could be lower, too

A quarter of Europe has already dried up in April, and this year’s harvest could be lower, too

Last year, Europe experienced one of its hottest and driest summers on record, and this year’s outlook couldn’t be much better. At the beginning of April, more than a quarter of Europe and the Mediterranean basin were affected by soil drying, according to satellite data from the European Copernicus Program.

28.65 percent of the area studied by the European Drought Observatory (EDO), that is, the area extending from Europe to Turkey and the Caucasus, as well as the coast of North Africa, experienced drought between April 1 and April 10, 2023.

The most affected regions were Scandinavia, Ireland, the northern part of Poland, Spain, Turkey, the western coast of the Black Sea, the northern part of the Maghreb and the Caucasus.

In 25 percent of the monitored area, soil moisture content was deficient, mainly due to lack of rain, and 3.57 percent had “abnormal vegetation growth,” the highest level of alert. This vegetation damage, which indicates significant agricultural losses, has been observed primarily in North Africa and some areas of southern Spain, Central Ireland and Turkey.

The dry winter and spring of 2023 mean more droughts can be expected, said Rebecca Emerton, lead author of the report, which was written by the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “Unfortunately, the effects are likely to already be felt in the growing season, so we will likely see a lower yield this year.”

Without global warming, droughts similar to the record drought of 2022 could be expected in the Northern Hemisphere once every four centuries, but we can now expect them to increase in frequency. (MTI, guardian)

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