Europe: Exceptional water deficits persist in Finland & Latvia

18 February 2019

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast through October 2019 indicates moderate deficits throughout many parts of Europe along with a number of areas with significantly more intense conditions. Exceptional deficits are forecast for southern Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. Regions with severe to extreme deficits include Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, northern Germany, Belarus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and European Russia.

Surpluses are forecast for central Austria, eastern Ukraine, Crimea, and Peloponnese, Greece.

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

The forecast through April indicates persistent, intense deficits in Finland, southern Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. Some pockets of intense deficit are forecast for northern Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and eastern Slovenia and Croatia. Moderate to severe deficits are expected in Belarus and across the border into European Russia past the Volga River. Primarily moderate deficits are forecast for the southern Iberian Peninsula, central France, northern Italy, Poland, and other pockets of Europe. Surpluses are forecast for Switzerland, Austria, scattered pockets of the Balkans, southern Bulgaria, Romania, eastern Ukraine, Crimea, southern Norway, parts of Lapland, and Murmansk, Russia.

From May through July, surpluses will diminish as mild to severe deficits emerge throughout much of Europe and exceptional deficits persist in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. Some pockets of extreme deficit may persist in nations along the southern North Sea. Surpluses will persist in eastern Ukraine, Crimea, and Peloponnese, and may be exceptional in Crimea.

The forecast for the remaining months – August through October – indicates mild to moderate deficit conditions throughout most of Europe with more intense deficits in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, and southern Norway and Sweden. Surpluses will persist in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

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

IMPACTS
Last summer’s drought in Ireland revealed cropmarkings mimicking the pattern of a series of immense timber palisade walls in the prehistoric Newgrange site, indicating that the site was used for ceremonies three centuries after its construction. The discovery implies new theories about the historical usage of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as a mortuary enclosure.

Heavy rain in early December restored shipping routes on the Rhine River in Germany, which had been low for six months amid a summer drought and dry autumn.

Storm Deirdre battered the U.K. in December, causing flooding rain, snow, and freezing rain, keeping holiday shoppers indoors in a peak shopping weekend. Rains flooded a railway station in south Wales, forcing train passengers to wade through inches of water after disembarking their train.

Deep snow and coastal flooding rang in the new year for much of Europe when Storm Zeetje surged the coasts of Germany and southern Denmark with up to six feet of storm surge. A closely-following storm system dumped three to seven feet of snow in the Austrian Alps, causing some ski resorts to close due to avalanche risk. Villages in Italy and southern Poland, too, were buried under feet of snow, and heavy snowfall shut down schools in Greece.

After one German dairy farmer suffered his poorest harvest in three decades due to drought last year, he filed a lawsuit against the German government over its failure to meet climate protection targets. Joined by two other farmers and Greenpeace, the farmer aims to hold the government accountable for revising down its goal of slashing 40 percent of 1990-level greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to slashing only 32 percent.

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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