Heatwaves, severe droughts cause Europe searing pain

ROME. KAZINFORM Historic heatwaves and droughts have set the tone for Europe this summer, which has been gripped by blistering heat, devastating forest blazes, little precipitation and dried up rivers and lakes.

The prolonged extreme weather is taking a heavy toll on European countries, which are still beset by rising prices and energy crisis. Experts have warned of reduced agricultural output, hampered shipping and insufficient electricity production, among other challenges, Xinhua reports.

Climate change, a major cause of the extreme weather, has become a pressing issue to be dealt with more than ever, with Europe struggling to realize its green ambition without risking energy insecurity.


Heatwaves scorched Europe earlier than usual, especially in the southern, western and central parts. Multiple countries, including Spain and Britain, have reported record high temperatures, while Portugal recorded a new high of 47 degrees Celsius in mid-July.

The Institute of Atmosphere and Climate Science of Italy's National Research Council said in early August that this year is on pace to be the hottest and driest year in Italy on record dating back to 1800.

Wildfires have become more frequent. This year, some 660,000 hectares of European land have been burned by large fires as of Aug. 13, a record high at this point of the year since data collection began in 2006, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.

Aside from Mediterranean countries that are no new victims of fires in summer, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, blazes have also ravaged central and northern Europe, damaging buildings and forcing people to flee their homes.

The early heatwaves have worsened the severe drought that began to trouble much of Europe since early 2022 due to persistent lack of precipitation.

Britain officially declared a drought across a large swathe of England. The source of the River Thames in the country has dried up further downstream, and major rivers that run through the European continent have seen water levels drop significantly, including the River Rhine.

In Slovenia, the drought has prompted restrictions on tap water usage and agricultural irrigation, and similar actions are underway in many other nations.

Recent data from the European Commission's Joint Research Center (EC-JRC) showed some 47 percent of the territory of the European Union and Britain in drought warning conditions and 17 percent in alert conditions.

The current drought could surpass the 2018 drought to be the worst in 500 years, Andrea Toreti, a senior researcher with the center, was quoted by media reports in August as saying.

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