EUROPE: WATER SURPLUSES WILL RETREAT IN CENTRAL EUROPE & THE BALKANS AS DEFICITS EMERGE

25 May 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast indicates exceptional water deficits in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Crete, and a band across southern Italy south of Naples. Deficits of varying severity are expected in parts of Norway, southern Sweden, and much of Central and Eastern Europe.

Surpluses are forecast for European Russia, eastern Ukraine, Hungary, southern Romania (the Danube River), the Iberian Peninsula, Ireland, England, and pockets of France and Italy.

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

The forecast for May through July indicates that surpluses will retreat in Central Europe as moderate to extreme deficits emerge. Deficits will increase in Northern Europe as well, with exceptional deficits forecast for Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, and severe to exceptional deficits persisting in coastal Norway and increasing in southern Sweden. Deficits are also forecast for western Ukraine, Belarus, and the Balkans, where both deficits and surpluses will appear as transitions occur. Intense surpluses are forecast for northern and eastern Ukraine and into Russia, along with both deficits and surpluses in much of European Russia. Similarly, surpluses will remain intense in Hungary but conditions will begin to transition. Surpluses are forecast to persist with some intensity on the Iberian Peninsula but will retreat in France, with deficits emerging in Auvergne. Moderate surpluses will persist in Ireland, England, and Normandy, France.

From August through October deficits are expected to moderate overall. However, deficits will remain intense in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, decreasing somewhat. Surpluses will persist in Hungary and eastern Ukraine but both surpluses and deficits are forecast for northern Ukraine. Conditions in European Russia will be similar to the prior three months’ forecast but intense surpluses will re-emerge west of the Rybinsk Reservoir. Surpluses will retreat considerably in the UK and will diminish on the Iberian Peninsula.

The forecast for the remaining months – November through January – indicates nearly normal conditions in Europe with surpluses in eastern Ukraine and in Russia between the Don and Volga Rivers.

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

IMPACTS
Warm temperatures caused massive snowmelt in northern Sweden this month, nearly doubling the water level of the Vindelälven River which burst its banks and flooded many summer homes in the region. Flood warnings were issued for eight counties in central Sweden as well, with Gävleborg country reporting that the Norrala River breached its banks, damaging buildings. The unusually heavy snow melt broke open the door of an old dam near Gävle, threatening to wash away a small mill until authorities relieved the pressure by forcing open a second door.

Hail and rain flooded the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki this month, trapping vehicles and flooding hundreds of buildings. The flooding tainted water supplies, forcing officials to suspend water service in parts of the city. Torrential rainfall extended to Greece’s southern region, damaging homes and businesses.

Parts of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia were flooded during a late April storm with hail and heavy rain more characteristic of a summer storm. A number of roads were closed including the Europa Tunnel, which was completely filled with water. Northern Germany was battered this month by powerful storms that caused flooding and damaged property.

Now facing a third year of drought, the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is carefully calibrating how to meet its water needs as reservoirs drop to just 23 percent of capacity. Desalination will spare domestic water consumers, but agricultural allocation is drawn from reservoirs and farmers can expect no more than 25 percent of their requirements to be met this year. Water officials say that this means priority will be given to orange and olive trees and greenhouses, with seasonal crops like potatoes receiving no reservoir water after May.

A severely hot and arid April dashed hopes for a bumper harvest of spring crops in Ukraine. Barley forecasts have been reduced twice since March following the unseasonable temperatures, putting estimates below last year’s harvest. Rainfall in Crimea during the October 1 through April 25 sowing season measured a mere 50 percent of average

NOTE ON ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES
There are numerous regions around the world where country borders are contested. ISciences depicts country boundaries on these maps solely to provide some geographic context. The boundaries are nominal, not legal, descriptions of each entity. The use of these boundaries does not imply any judgement on the legal status of any territory, or any endorsement or acceptance of disputed boundaries on the part of ISciences or our data providers.

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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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