Europe’s heatwaves, droughts put focus on climate change risks
This is really brain-dead stuff. Have we forgotten that global warming is supposed to be global? And how many halves does the globe's atmosphere have? TWO. So if the Northern hemisphere droughts are caused by global warming, there must be similar droughts in the Southern hemisphere too.
Except that there aren't. I live in Australia in the Southern hemisphere. And Australia is being plagued by record and very damaging FLOODS. So globally, the weather is on average normal. Air and ocean currents move weather about so what seems to be happening is that they have moved Northern precipitation Southward, with no overall change involved
Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are enduring severe droughts this summer.
Italy’s worst drought in decades has reduced Lake Garda, the country’s largest, to near its lowest level ever recorded and warming the water to temperatures that approach the average in the Caribbean Sea.
Northern Italy has not seen significant rainfall for months, and snowfall this year was down 70 percent, drying up vital waterways such as the Po River, which flows across Italy’s agricultural and industrial heartland.
Successive heatwaves have also renewed the focus on climate change risks for Europe.
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre warned this week that drought conditions will get worse and potentially affect 47 percent of the continent.
Andrea Toreti, a senior researcher at the European Drought Observatory, said a drought in 2018 was so extreme that there were no similar events in the last 500 years, “but this year, I think, it is really worse”.
For the next three months, “we see still a very high risk of dry conditions over Western and Central Europe, as well as the UK”, Toreti said.
Current conditions result from long periods of dry weather caused by changes in world weather systems, said meteorologist Peter Hoffmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin.
“It’s just that in summer we feel it the most,” he said. “But actually the drought builds up across the year.”
Climate change has lessened temperature differences between regions, sapping the forces that drive the jet stream, which normally brings wet Atlantic weather to Europe, he said.
A weaker or unstable jet stream can bring unusually hot air to Europe from North Africa, leading to prolonged periods of heat. The reverse is also true when a polar vortex of cold air from the Arctic can cause freezing conditions far south of where it would normally reach.
Hoffmann said observations in recent years have all been at the upper end of what existing climate models predicted.