Europe: Widespread water deficits to persist, esp in Germany & Finland

24 July 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast indicates deficits blanketing much of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe. Deficits are expected to reach exceptional intensity in many areas including Finland, southern Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Germany, and eastern Czechia.

Surpluses are forecast for parts of Ukraine, Moldova, Hungary, Serbia, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, and European Russia.

Conditions of both deficit and surplus are also expected in European Russia as transitions occur.

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

The forecast through September indicates widespread deficits of varying severity in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, and though deficits will downgrade from exceptional levels in most of the affected regions, deficits will remain severe to extreme. Specifically, intense deficits are forecast for Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Czechia. Deficits are expected to be extreme on many rivers including the Oder, Elbe, Danube, and Rhine. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Belarus. Moderate deficits are expected to increase in central France.

Surpluses will persist on the Iberian Peninsula and may be exceptional between the Tajo and Guadiana Rivers, and from Toledo south to Granada. Intense surpluses are also forecast for southern Hungary, Moldova, large pockets in Ukraine, southern Romania along the Danube, and eastern Bulgaria. Surpluses of lesser intensity are expected in pockets of the Balkans; along France’s southern coast, and a pocket north of Dijon; and Piedmont, Tuscany, and Campania, Italy. In European Russia, surpluses ranging from moderate to exceptional are forecast but both deficits and surpluses are also expected as transitions occur.

As is evident in the paler coloration on the October through December forecast, water anomalies – both deficits and surpluses – are expected to diminish and downgrade considerably, leaving primarily mild to moderate deficits in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, and some surpluses Eastern Europe and Russia. However, severe to exceptional deficits are forecast for central Finland, and severe pockets in southern Germany and in Scotland. Conditions on the Iberian Peninsula will transition to normal or mild deficit. Surpluses are forecast for eastern Belarus, eastern Ukraine, central Moldova into Ukraine, southern Hungary, and northeastern Bulgaria, and may be especially intense in eastern Belarus. In European Russia, surpluses will persist around Rybinsk Reservoir and re-emerge in the Don River Basin, the Volga Uplands, and north of the Caucasus.

The forecast for the remaining months – January through March – indicates some moderate deficits on the Iberian Peninsula and some intense deficits in northern Finland. Moderate surpluses are forecast for Central Europe, parts of Northern Europe, the Baltics, and pockets of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and western European Russia.

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

IMPACTS
Much of Europe continues to scorch under extreme high temperatures and drought conditions.

A vast area extending from the British Isles into Eastern Europe has received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall for this time of year. Baltic Sea countries are suffering sudden damage to wheat crops, straining the outlook for what are usually large exports. A shortage of fodder has led cattle farmers in western Latvia to cull their cattle herds, and forest fires are raging. German wheat and rapeseed forecasts were cut in early June by 6.5 and 5 percent, respectively. European Union farmers have requested advance payment from the EU Commission to help the most at-risk farmers stay afloat.

Farther south, the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is struggling to keep its agricultural sector alive with the country's reservoirs at only 21.9 percent capacity. The government shut off taps for seasonal crops, while allotting permanent crops like trees a mere 25 percent of their water needs. 

Parts of southern Sweden are experiencing extreme drought according to the country's meteorological agency, and dry conditions throughout the nation have fueled forest fires over many large areas, prompting air quality warnings.

A state of emergency due to drought was declared last month in several agricultural districts of Crimea. Prior to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, Ukraine supplied over 85 percent of Crimea’s total freshwater supply. Ukraine has since blocked the Dnieper-Crimea Canal with dykes to prevent water flow to the region.

Heavy thunderstorms caused flash flooding in eastern and central Romania late last month and killed at least four people. Over 760 people were rescued, hundreds of homes flooded, and a railway bridge collapsed. In Ukraine, the Dniester, Syan, Siret, and Prut rivers overflowed, rising by more than two meters, causing flooding in Lviv, Chernivtsi, and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts. The storms knocked out power in 400 towns.

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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