LUX, France (AP) — A river once ran through it. Today, a wide trench winding through the trees on the River Tyré in the village of Lux in Burgundy, France, is covered in white dust and thousands of dead fish.
From the dry and cracked reservoirs of Spain to the falling water levels of major arteries such as the Danube, Rhine and Po, an unprecedented drought has hit nearly half of continental Europe. It is damaging agricultural economies, forcing water restrictions, causing wildfires and threatening aquatic life.
Western, Central, and Southern Europe have had almost two months without heavy rainfall. And the dry season is expected to continue, with experts saying it could be the worst drought in 500 years. Climate change is exacerbating the situation as water absorption and reduced winter snowfall limit the supply of fresh water available for irrigation in the summer. It's not just Europe that's at risk, droughts have also been reported in East Africa, the western United States and northern Mexico.
Jean-Philippe Couasne, chief engineer for the local Fisheries and Aquatic Conservation Federation, listed the species as he walked the 15-meter-wide (50-foot-wide) riverbed of Luxe. . Of the fish that were dead in Tyre.
"It's heartbreaking," he said. “On average, about 8,000 liters (about 2,100 gallons) per second are flowing. …and now zero liters. You can take refuge in a pool via a fishway, but such a system is not available everywhere.
If it doesn't rain, the river will "keep empty." Yes, all the fish die.…They're trapped upstream and downstream, with no water coming in, so the oxygen levels continue to decrease as the volume (of water) decreases. is a species that is slowly disappearing.”
Jean-Pierre Sonvico, Regional Director of the Federation, said that diversion of fish to other rivers would also affect those waterways,
"Yeah, what we can do is dramatic. Nothing," he said. rice field. "We expect and wait for rainstorms, but storms are so local that we cannot count on them."
The European Commission's Collaborative Research Center said this week that It warned that the situation could worsen and affect 47% of the continent.
Andrea Toretti, senior researcher at the European Drought Observatory, said the 2018 drought was so extreme that it hadn't happened in the last 500 years.
Over the next three months, "we still see a very high risk of dry conditions, not only in the UK, but also in Western and Central Europe," Mr Toretti said.
The current situation is the result of prolonged periods of dry weather caused by changes in the global weather system, said meteorologist Peter Hoffmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin.
"You just feel it most in the summer," he said. "However, in practice, drought increases throughout the year."
Climate change reduces the temperature differentials between regions, removing the power to drive the jet stream and leaving the normally moist Atlantic Ocean. He said the weather would bring to Europe.
Weakening or instability in the jet stream could cause abnormally hot air to flow from North Africa into Europe, prolonging hot periods. The opposite is also true, given that a polar vortex of cold air from the North Pole can cause freezing conditions farther south than where it normally reaches.
Hoffman said all recent observations hit the upper bound predicted by existing climate models.
Drought has imposed restrictions on water use in some European countries, jeopardizing transport on the Rhine and Danube.
The Rhine is likely to reach very low levels in the next few days, making it increasingly difficult to transport commodities, including coal and gasoline. On the Danube, Serbian authorities began dredging sand and deepening the channel to keep ships moving smoothly.
In neighboring Hungary, large stretches of the popular Lake Velence near Budapest have been turned into patches of dried mud as small boats wash up on the beach. Aeration and water circulation systems have been installed to protect wildlife, but water quality has deteriorated and some beaches are closed for swimming on weekends.
Italy's longest river, the Po, is so short in length that barges and boats that sank decades ago are resurfacing.
The drought also affected southern England, with only 10% of the average rainfall in July. Firefighters are battling an unprecedented number of grass fires, and people in some areas have been banned from watering their lawns.
Charity Rivers The Trust said England's chalk creeks, which spring underground springs from spongy layers of rock, have dried up, endangering aquatic life such as kingfishers and trout.
Even countries like Spain and Portugal, which are accustomed to long periods of no rain, have had big results.In Spain's Andalusia region, the capacity of the Vinuela Reservoir in the province of Málaga is only 13%. , down 55% from a year ago, and some avocado farmers have had to sacrifice hundreds of trees to keep others from wilting.
Some European farmers use tap water for livestock in areas where ponds and streams have dried up, using up to 100 liters (26 gallons) per cow per day. I'm here.
In the normally green Burgundy, the headwaters of the Seine in Paris, the grass turns tawny and tractors whip up huge clouds of dust.
Baptiste Colson, who owns dairy cows and grows fodder crops in his village of Molloy, said the quality and quantity of milk had declined and his cows were suffering from drought.
A local said her 31-year-old union president of the Jeunes Agriculteurs (Young Farmers) union was forced to dabble in the winter forage supply in August.
"That's the biggest concern," Colson said.
S&P Global Commodity Insights report says EU maize production is projected to fall by 12.5 million tonnes from last year, while sunflower production is projected to fall by 1.6 million tonnes. I'm here.
Colson expects corn yields to decline by at least 30%. This is a big problem for his cattle feed.
"I know we have to buy food...so the cows can continue to produce milk," he said. "From an economic point of view, the costs are high."
Dana Bertaggi and Jill Lawless of London, Frank Jordan of Berlin, Barry Hutton of Lisbon, Lisbon of Portugal Barry Hutton, Kieran Giles, Madrid, Dusan Stojanovic, Belgrade, Serbia, and Vera Shandelski, Budapest, Hungary, contributed to this report.
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