SThe winter of 2018 was a devastating time for European farmers. The amount of rain fell in central Europe was up to 80% below normal. Temperatures reached record-breaking heights. In many European countries, wildfires brokeout in the Nordic countries. Crops across the continent produced their lowest yields in decades.
This was not the end of it. In summer 2019 and 2020, Europe was again hit with scorching temperatures and dry conditions. A new study has revealed that this multi-year drought set a new standard and gained the unwelcome title of being the most severe drought event in Europe in the last 250 years.
Researchers looked through climate records dating back more than a century, and found that the 2018 to 2020 European drought was unusually severe. It lasted more than two years and affected more than one third of the continent. The researchers used climate model simulations to show that Europe should be ready for long-lasting and similar intense droughts. They could persist for as long as 8 years under an intermediate emissions scenario, or 25 years under the worst case scenario. Important measures for mitigation and adaptation are needed.
Researchers write that the 20182020 drought could be a wake-up call for agricultural policies. Paper published in the journal Earths Future.