Europe: Water deficits will remain intense in Northern Europe

19 June 2019

The 12-month forecast through February 2020 indicates intense water deficits in Finland, the Baltics, Belarus, southern and far northern Sweden, northern Germany, southern Belgium, central France, western Spain, and southern Portugal.

Primarily moderate deficits are forecast in many pockets scattered throughout Europe, including eastern England, southern France, and the Balkans.

Surpluses of varying intensity are forecast for northern European Russia and north-central Sweden. Pockets of primarily moderate surplus are forecast for Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, central Slovakia, northern Romania, western Croatia, southwestern Serbia, and Umbria in central Italy. Surpluses may be more intense in Romania and a pocket in southeastern Spain.

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

The forecast through August indicates that deficits will remain intense in Northern Europe with widespread exceptional deficits persisting in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and southern Sweden, and increasing somewhat in Latvia and Belarus. Southern Norway will transition from surplus to deficit, surpluses in European Russia will shrink somewhat, and moderate deficits will increase around Moscow. Intense deficits are forecast for Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, northern Germany, southern Denmark, eastern England, central France, western Spain, and along the Drava River through Austria. Deficits will be extreme along the Loire River. Surpluses are expected in Scotland, central Italy and around the Adriatic Sea, Serbia, northern Romania, and southern Greece. Surpluses in central Italy could reach exceptional intensity.

From September through November water anomalies will diminish overall leaving nearly normal conditions around the Mediterranean and in Western and much of eastern Europe. In the north, however, around the Baltic Sea, severe to exceptional deficits are forecast for Finland and Estonia. Primarily moderate deficits are expected in southern Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and from Luxembourg across northern Germany. A pocket of intense deficit is forecast in southeastern Germany west of Dresden. Some moderate surpluses are forecast in central Serbia and western Romania.

The forecast for the remaining months – December 2019 through February 2020 – indicates nearly normal conditions in most of Europe, with anomalies in the north. Deficits are forecast for Finland, and surpluses are expected in Murmansk (Russia), southern Norway, north-central Sweden, and Switzerland.

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

Widespread flooding in Germany in late May killed at least one person and interrupted three railway lines in the south, while heavy rain collapsed the roof of a hospital delivery room after a drain became blocked.

Heavy rain in the United Kingdom this month swelled the River Alyn in Wales to its highest level since 2010, causing flooding which disrupted rail service and closed several roads. Some U.K. areas received twice the typical June rainfall in just two days, damaging homes and forcing the Cricket World Cup in Bristol to be cancelled for the day.

Hail the size of ping pong balls in southeastern France destroyed orchards, vineyards, and vegetable farms, leading France to declare a state of natural disaster for some areas. At least one person was killed in the storm in the Haute-Savoie region, and the deluge transformed the streets of Romans-sur-Isère into raging floodways.

June storm systems extended into northern Italy, causing landslides and flooding that evacuated homes, farms, and a campsite.

A day of heavy rain in Serbia flooded homes, overflowed sewers, and damaged bridges early this month. Over 150 people evacuated their homes and authorities declared emergency situations in nine municipalities.

Despite recent rains, drought and pest attacks combined to produce the lowest rapeseed harvest estimates for the European Union in more than a decade.

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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