Europe: Water deficits forecast for Eastern Europe, surpluses in Luxembourg (August 22, 2016)

The Big Picture
The 12-month forecast through April 2017 (below) shows the predominance of water deficits in southern Sweden, Finland, Eastern Europe and Spain, with large pockets of exceptional deficits (greater than 40 years) in the Baltics and Northern Europe. Water surpluses are forecast in a pattern emanating from the shared borders of France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

Impacts
July flooding in Luxembourg caught many homeowners and businesses without sufficient insurance. The government is compiling an inventory of flood damage and has earmarked a 30 million euro (US $33,948,750) rescue package for the uninsured.

Torrential rain flooded the Macedonian capital, Skopje, killing at least 21, many of whom drowned in their cars as the beltway around the city was swept away. Three and a half inches of rain fell - more than the August average - and the water level reached 5 feet (1.5 meters) in some areas. 

During an intense heatwave deadly wildfires raged for several weeks in Portugal's north and on the island of Madeira, killing four people, destroying 115,000 hectares (284,170 acres) and causing damages estimated at over 200 million euros (US$225.58 million).

Dry weather is threatening corn crops in Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine with rainfall 10 to 30 percent of normal for the past month and temperatures 1C to 2C (1.8F to 3.6F) higher.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month time period show the evolving conditions in more detail.

Though the severity is expected to diminish somewhat, water deficits are forecast to persist August through October in Finland, southern Norway and Sweden, the Baltics, eastern Germany, Eastern Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Mediterranean. Water surpluses are forecast to persist, though diminished in extent and severity, in the United Kingdom, northern France and across the border into Germany. A transition from surplus to mild deficits is forecast for Portugal. Moderate deficits (5 to 10 years) will emerge across southern France and deficits in Ukraine will spread during this period. Surpluses are forecast in Kosovo, southern Serbia, northwestern Romania, and eastern Hungary.

What is most noticeable in the 3-month maps is that, overall, the May through October maps light up with reds, yellows, and oranges, indicating water deficits. The November through April maps, in contrast, are dominated by blue tones across the northern portions, indicating a transition to water surpluses. Surpluses are forecast for Northern Europe, the Baltics, and European Russia November through January. In the final months of the forecast – February through April – surpluses are also forecast for Central Europe and parts of the United Kingdom. Deficits remain in the forecast for countries along the Mediterranean Sea through April.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

Comment

Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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