Drought parches nearly half of EU land stoking food production fears | World News

Almost half of European Union territory has slipped into a “severe” drought, the bloc’s official body has warned, bringing a risk of fire over “most of Europe” and fears for food production.

It comes as a fierce heatwave licks southern Europe, forecast to bring plus-40C temperatures to popular tourist destinations in Italy, Greece and Turkey this week.

The latest data from the European Drought Observatory (EDO) shows 42% of land across the 27 member countries under amber warning, meaning the ground has dried out from a lack of rain.

Much of the UK is also in this category, although the Environment Agency only classifies Devon, Cornwall and parts of East Anglia in drought.

A further 4% of EU land is on red alert for drought, where crops and plants are suffering too.

Read more:
UK and Switzerland to suffer highest increase in ‘uncomfortably hot days’ globally
Europe heatwave – latest: More than 2,000 evacuated from Spanish island

The dry and hot conditions are fuelling the risk of wildfires, with the danger moderate or high across “most of Europe”, and extreme in Spain and Portugal.

But the drought has struck differently in the south to the north of the continent, the EDO said in a special report on drought in June published on Friday.

Southern Europe has been suffering from a prolonged drought, but is now largely starting to recover thanks to recent rainfall.

The exception is in major food producer Spain and Portugal, where the recent rain wasn’t enough to offset the effects of previous dry weather and extended heatwaves.

Food and crops were “significantly affected” right in the middle of the growing season, the EDO said.

Meanwhile, a new drought is setting in the north of the continent, around the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia, the UK, Ireland, and Germany after a severe lack of rain.

“This is causing concerns about how crops will grow,” the EDO..

The European Commission is planning to mobilise an extra €330m (£283m) funding for EU farmers grappling with challenging weather, high costs and trade problems.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Is your euro holiday in drought area?

What weather can we expect for the rest of summer 2023?

Seasonal forecasts suggest a warmer than average summer is on the cards for most of the continent, after the world experienced its hottest ever week earlier this month.

From June to August 2023, drier than average conditions are predicted for southern Scandinavia, the southern UK, Denmark, Germany, and the Baltic Sea regions.

However, wetter than normal weather is expected in Mediterranean regions.

Is the drought in Europe due to climate change?

Droughts are becoming more common and more severe due to climate change in Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as southern Africa, central and eastern Asia, southern Australia, and western North America.

The climate crisis made last summer’s drought that hit the whole northern hemisphere twenty times more likely.

Watch The Climate Show with Tom Heap on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 7.30pm on Sky News, on the Sky News website and app, and on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

#Drought #parches #land #stoking #food #production #fears #World #News