Europe: Water deficits forecast across Europe through November

September 23, 2016

The Big Picture
The forecast for Europe shows the predominance of water deficits for the 12-month period of June 2016 through May 2017 (below), particularly in southern Sweden, Finland, the Baltics, western Ukraine, and Spain. Water surpluses are forecast in the northern United Kingdom, Austria, and parts of western European Russia.


LA UNIÓ de Llauradors, the agricultural organization of Valencia, Spain, estimates that drought in the region has already caused losses in the agricultural sector worth €165 million (US $184 million). Citrus crops are recording the greatest losses, totaling €95 million (US $106 million) and losses in the almond crop will total €13.6 million (US $15.2 million), a 40 percent drop from last year. Dry, hot conditions also reduced soil moisture for winter crop planting.

Southeast of Valencia, over 300 firefighters were deployed to tackle a massive fire raging on the Costa Blanca, a resort area favored by international tourists. Officials believe the fire was deliberated set, exacerbated by temperatures over 40°C (104°F) and low humidity. Over 1,000 people were evacuated.

Torrential rains caused flash flooding in the southern Greek city of Kalamata, leaving three people dead and cars stacked on each other in the narrow streets. More than 140mm (5.5 inches) of rain fell in one hour. Flooding also occurred in Thessaloniki in the north-east, where cars were washed out to sea, and in Sparta, where one death was reported.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month time period show the evolving conditions. What is immediately noticeable is that the June through November maps light up with reds, yellows, and oranges, indicating water deficits, while from December on the maps show more blue tones across Northern Europe and European Russia, indicating the emergence of water surpluses.

For the next three months however, water deficits will continue to dominate much of Europe, as seen in the September through November map. Though the severity of deficits is expected to diminish during this period, the extent of deficits is forecast to increase. 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 western Ukraine. Surpluses – primarily moderate – are forecast for the northern United Kingdom and northern Sweden. Surpluses of greater severity are expected in European Russia.

Evident in the December through February map, water surpluses are forecast across Northern Europe including: Norway; northern and southern Sweden; southern Finland and the northeastern shore of the Bothnian Bay (Bottenviken) near the city of Oolu; Estonia; Russia from St. Petersburg north to the White Sea; and the western reaches of the Volga River Basin. Moderate to severe water deficits are forecast for Bulgaria.

The forecast for the final months of the forecast – March through May – indicates surpluses in Norway and the Alps, and primarily moderate deficits elsewhere, particularly the western shore of the Black Sea.

(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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