Europe: Moderate water deficits forecast through December

25 October 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast through June 2019 indicates intense deficits in many parts of Central and Northern Europe. Areas with extreme to exceptional deficits include Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Czechia (Czech Republic).

Deficits of varying intensity are forecast for nearly all remaining areas of Europe, with the exception of northern European Russia, southwestern Serbia, and northern United Kingdom, where moderate surpluses are forecast.

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

Moderate deficits will dominate much of Europe from October through December, downgrading from prior exceptional deficits in many areas. Severe to extreme deficits are, however, forecast for southern Sweden, central Finland, southern France, Switzerland, and southern Germany. Norway is expected to transition from exceptional deficit to moderate surplus or normal conditions. Moderate surpluses are also forecast in Scotland and extreme surpluses in west-central Sweden. Surpluses of varying intensity are forecast for European Russia and eastern Ukraine.

From January through March, surpluses will increase in Northern Europe, deficits in Central and Eastern Europe will become merely mild or normalize, and moderate deficits are forecast for much of Mediterranean Europe including many Balkan regions. More specifically, surpluses will increase in northern United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, and European Russia, and will emerge in Switzerland, Czechia, southern Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. Surpluses may be extreme to exceptional in Russia between Lake Onega and Rybinsk.

The forecast for the remaining months – April through June – indicates that surpluses will persist in parts of Northern Europe, but moderate deficits will increase throughout the region, with some severe deficits forecast in pockets of the Balkans and in western Ukraine.

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

IMPACTS
Hundreds of Portuguese firefighters battled a wildfire west of Lisbon early this month and evacuated 350 people from a campsite and homes nearby. After last year’s deadly wildfire season that killed 106 people, the federal government has taken more extensive preventative measures in response to a hotter, drier climate, including employing goats to graze on flammable grasslands alongside roadways.

Last month was the hottest September on record in Portugal since record-keeping began in 1931. More than 91 percent of the country is reportedly in what is considered a “weak” drought.

Irish milk producers suffered a 120-million-euro (USD $137.5 million) loss due to recent drought and feed shortages, halting a seven-year growth period in the dairy sector.

Storm Ali killed two people and cut power to tens of thousands of homes as it swept across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland last month. The director general of Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency said storms and other extreme weather events over the past twelve months “severely tested the resilience of Ireland’s infrastructure, economy, healthcare services, and people’s wellbeing.” In almost every month either a storm, extreme amounts of rain, or drought plagued the country.

Cyclone Zorba hit Greece late last month, causing floods and damage to housing and infrastructure. Three people remain missing from the island of Evia.

Chur, Switzerland hit 30 degrees C (86F) on September 21, the latest “hot day” of the year ever recorded north of the Alps in Switzerland. In the western region of the country, prolonged drought led to such dry conditions in mountain pastures that Swiss army helicopters have been delivering water to thirsty dairy cows by scooping 2,000 gallons from Lake Neuchatel and flying up the mountainside.

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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