The Big Picture
The 12-month map ending January 2017 (below) shows the overall persistence of water deficits in parts of Mediterranean Europe, including southern Spain and Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily, southern Greece, and Crete. Surpluses are evident in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Central and Eastern Europe are transitioning from surplus to deficit. Deficits are forecast for Finland and the Baltics.
Residents of Malaga, Spain are being urged to conserve water as reservoirs hit a 10-year low in conditions that officials are calling "alarming." Recent rain has improved the situation but has not resolved the hydrological deficit.
Last year's drought severely curtailed Portugal's renewable energy production - down 14% from 2014 - due to the drop in hydropower, which leads the country's renewables portfolio. Water conditions have improved, allowing Portugal to set a record last week by generating all of its electricity entirely from renewables for four consecutive days.
The Irish Rail line between Innis and Limerick opened for the first time in five months after flooding from winter storms forced its closing. Recent storms in London, however, closed the Lewisham train station and the A20 (highway), a section of which was flooded by more than a foot of water. The deluge also cancelled the Royal Windsor Horse Show, dropping half a month of rainfall in 12 hours.
The 3-month composites for the same 12-month time period (below) clearly shows the transition in Europe from predominantly surplus conditions February through March to predominately deficit conditions May through July. Though surpluses are forecast to linger in Ireland and the United Kingdom, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and parts of Northern Europe are forecast to join Mediterranean Europe in conditions of water deficit. Water deficits are noticeable in the May through July map on the Elbe River through Germany, on the Danube as it winds its way through Austria, Hungary, and Serbia, and on the Drava across northern Croatia. Deficits are forecast to be exceptional in Latvia, Estonia, and the Lakeland region of southern Finland as well as farther north in southern Lapland.
(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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