Rome – Fears about drought are growing in Europe in the light of snowpack data which in the Alps show only a small percentage of the normal accumulation at this time of year while in large areas of France and Italy rainfall was also very low in the ‘last month.
In France, Switzerland, Italy and parts of Austria, there is far less snow than average, said meteorologist Klaus Haslinger of GeoSphere Austria, the state weather service. In Italy, Legambiente estimates that 53% less snow has fallen in the Italian Alps in recent months than the long-term average. As for the absence of rain in the Po basin, rainfall has decreased by 61% compared to the historical average, the data show, while the alarm is growing for the impact on agricultural production.
In France, after several consecutive weeks without rain, there are fears of a second consecutive summer of drought and water restrictions. Meteorologists report that large high pressure systems over western Europe are driving rain fronts apart, leading to low rainfall.
But this isn’t the first time such weather conditions have caused years of extremely low rainfall, noted Haslinger, since sixty years ago there was a period of dry weather that lasted for several years: “During that time the level of the Danube has dropped to an all-time low,” the meteorologist said, pointing to evidence that global warming is driving these temperature patterns, making arid conditions more common in the years to come.
“If spring weather is similar to what it was in 2022, the drought will get much worse,” warned Josef Eitzinger, an agricultural meteorologist at the University of Vienna, as rivers will carry much less meltwater this year than mountains, which is also the key to replenishing groundwater.
In France, according to data from the national water monitoring system, out of 422 underground areas observed, 125 are already at a very low level; 120 low level; and 97 at a moderately low level. (source Adnkronos)