Europe: Water deficits ahead for Central, Eastern, & Northern Europe

22 June 2018

The 12-month forecast indicates deficits of varying severity blanketing much of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe. Deficits are expected to reach exceptional intensity in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Crete.

Surpluses are forecast for the Iberian Peninsula, England, along the Marne River and parts of the Seine in France, the Riviera, southern Serbia and east along the Danube into Bulgaria, eastern Ukraine and many parts of European Russia.

Conditions of both deficit and surplus are expected in areas of transition, including Hungary, southeastern Romania, eastern Bulgaria, Moldova, and western European Russia.

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

The forecast through August indicates widespread deficits of varying severity in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe. Deficits are expected to be intense in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, southwestern Sweden, Denmark, Germany (surrounding Hamburg in the north and also south of the Danube River), southern Belgium, Sicily, and Crete. Surpluses will persist on the Iberian Peninsula and may be exceptional between the Tajo and Guadiana Rivers, and from Toledo south to Granada. Primarily moderate surpluses are forecast England; pockets in eastern and southern France; Piedmont, Tuscany, and Campania, Italy; and southern Serbia. In European Russia, surpluses ranging from moderate to exceptional are forecast for the Don River Basin and much of the Volga River Basin, but both deficits and surpluses are expected in the west as transitions occur. 

From September through November both deficit and surplus anomalies are forecast to moderate overall, but significant deficits will persist in Finland. Significant surpluses will persist in eastern Ukraine and the Don and Volga River Basins in Russia, and will re-emerge west of Rybinsk Reservoir. Surpluses will also persist in Spain from Toledo to Granada, and in Hungary, southern Serbia, southern Romania, eastern Bulgaria, and Moldova.

The forecast for the remaining months – December through February – indicates mild deficits in Europe, with the exception of northern Finland where deficits will be exceptional, and surpluses in Norway, the Baltics, Czechia (Czech Republic), Switzerland, and parts of the Don and Volga River Basins.

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

Severe summer storms battered much of Europe late last month. In the United Kingdom torrential rain downed phone lines causing outages at the British Parliament, while the city of Birmingham reportedly received over a month’s worth of rain in one hour. An elderly man died when his vehicle was submerged in floodwaters. In southeastern England flooding caused severe rail service delays.

The storms brought hail in the Bordeaux region of France, inflicting major damage to hundreds of vineyards. A week later flash floods contributed to the deaths of four people across the country.

Several areas of western Germany flooded, with water over a meter high. The western city of Wuppertal declared a state of emergency when rain collapsed the roofs of multiple buildings and ruined roads. Dozens of flights out of Frankfurt Airport, the country’s busiest, were canceled. In Poland thousands of firefighters were deployed to clear damages to buildings and roads following storms.

As Finland finished its warmest May in over 30 years, the capital city of Helsinki underwent its longest stretch on record – 30 days – without precipitation.

A long period of hot weather is threatening to dry up drinking water supplies in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The city and surrounding towns are restricting water use, even as local rivers are still swollen from melting snowpack.

Forest fires blazed in central Sweden early this month, fueled by dry weather and record-breaking hot days in the month of May. Several cities endured their warmest day in May since records began 150 years ago.

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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