Water deficits, especially Scandinavia, Spain & Ukraine, surpluses in western European Russia

October 25, 2016

The Big Picture
The forecast for Europe shows the predominance of water deficits for the 12-month period of July 2016 through June 2017, particularly in Scandinavia and the Baltics, western Ukraine, and Spain. Water surpluses are forecast in western European Russia.

Both drought and excessive rain threaten Ukraine's winter grain crops. Unfavorable conditions could leave 500,000 hectares unsown, according to the head of the agriculture department for the state weather center, with a high probability that 15 to 20 percent of the total area may be uncultivated.

A prolonged drought in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France is expected to reduce the olive harvest. Precipitation in southeast France has been lower than average this year and soil humidity levels are down by 70 percent. The president of the French Interprofessional Olive Association estimates that 3,500 to 4,000 tons of olive oil will be pressed, compared to 5,600 tons last year.

Spain's agricultural output continues to be impacted by drought. Vegetable production in Murcia is expected to fall 40 percent due to drought, and the lemon harvest has been slow in both Murcia and Alicante as grower's wait longer for fruit to reach market size.

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

For the next three months water deficits will continue to dominate much of Europe, as seen in the October through December map. Though the severity of deficits is expected to diminish during this period, the extent of deficits is forecast to increase, encompassing France and emerging in Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. Moderate (5 to 10 years) to severe (10 to 20 years) deficits are forecast throughout much of Europe, with pockets of extreme (20 to 40 years) deficits in Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, and Croatia. Exceptional surpluses are forecast for western European Russia. Moderate surpluses are forecast for Ireland.

Most noticeable in the January through March map is the obvious retreat of deficits in Europe and the increase in surpluses in European Russia. The expanded area of deep blue in western European Russia indicates the continued emergence of exceptional surpluses in the region. Moderate to severe surpluses are forecast in the Baltics and southern regions of Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Moderate surpluses are also forecast in northern Czech Republic, central Slovakia, Switzerland, and a band along Germany’s southern border and through Tirolian Austria into central Austria. Elsewhere across Europe the map clearly reflects the forecast of considerably diminished deficits, in both extent and severity. Primarily abnormal to moderate deficits are forecast.

The final forecast map – April through June – shows the emergence of widespread moderate to severe deficits throughout much of Europe and the recession of surpluses in western European Russia.

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


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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