Europe has been hot by droughts that experts have warned are the worst the continent has seen in 500 years. Currently two thirds of Europe are facing severe droughts, with 17% facing a state of alert and 47% currently living with a warning, according to the European Drought Observatory (EDO).
Experts have warned that these droughts are occurring due to climate change and that more action must be taken, as these weather conditions will begin to occur each year. Droughts create a major cause for concern as the lack of moisture in the soil means that crops are not growing, meaning that the crop yields are not as high as they should be.
Another major concern is that the dry vegetation and soil can lead to the outbreak of wildfires, which can cause devastation. In July, on the hottest day ever recorded where temperatures reached 40.3ᴼC, several areas in London were affected by wildfires that burned down homes.
In Southwestern France, wildfires have devasted several areas, with people being evacuated from their homes. The French Government have issued a warning that there is the potential for other fires to break out as the hot weather continues.
The droughts are also affecting the renewable energy sector as there has been a 20% reduction in energy produced through hydro-electric power, as water levels have been dropping.
In several parts of Britain, trees are experiencing ‘false autumn’, where leaves are already beginning to fall off the trees as they try to conserve water and energy in order to survive the lack of moisture in the soil due to the rising heat.
…trees are experiencing ‘false autumn’…
In some areas of Europe, water levels have become so low, ships and boats are getting trapped, such as in the French-Swiss Lac de Brenets Lake, where the lake has mostly dried up.
“We have 30 centimetres of water
left beneath us.”
The River Rhine, in Germany, is on the verge of drying out completely, with Captain Andre Kimpel, who works on the river itself, claiming that the river has “1.5m [5ft] of water and our boat sits 1.20m deep. So we have 30 centimetres of water left beneath us.”
‘Hunger stones’ have also been found in the River Rhine, which is a reminder of how people suffered during former droughts. These stones bear the initials and dates of those that suffered during these droughts.
In Spain, their drought has reduced the levels of the Valdecanas reservoir so low that the 150 stone Dolmen of Guadalperal, or the Spanish Stonehenge can now be seen. These stones are thought to be dated back to 5,000 BC and have only ever been seen four times since 1924, when the stones were discovered.
The second-longest river in Europe, the River Danube, has seen its water levels regress so low that sunken World War II ships have become visible. Around 20 German warships ships have been found. In Italy, a World War II bomb was found in the River Po, and was quickly diffused by military experts.
Experts have warned that these hot temperatures could continue for a further three months.
Although the droughts are uncovering parts of our planet’s past, the effects of the droughts we are experiencing now will cause severe damage to our present and future. These droughts appear to be continuing as experts have warned that these hot temperatures could continue for a further three months. This is a stark warning to the world that we need to do more to combat the effects of climate change.