Europe: Intense water deficits will persist in Finland

17 September 2019

The 12-month forecast through May 2020 indicates water deficits of varying intensity in many regions of Europe from the Iberian Peninsula through Central Europe and around the Baltic Sea.

Deficits will be widespread and exceptional in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia. Severe to exceptional deficits are forecast for Sweden, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, central Ukraine, along the western coast of the Black Sea, central France, and Spain.

Moderate to exceptional surpluses are expected in the northern United Kingdom and Ireland, and northern European Russia. Primarily moderate surpluses are forecast for southern Norway, northern Denmark, northern Switzerland, and pockets of northern Romania.

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

The forecast through November indicates that deficits in Europe will shrink and downgrade overall, though deficits in Finland will remain widespread, ranging from severe to exceptional. Severe to exceptional deficits will also persist in Estonia, Latvia, pockets of Sweden, and along the Norwegian Sea Coast. Isolated pockets of extreme deficit are forecast south of Kraków, Poland; the Ore Mountains in eastern Germany; from Munich, Germany into northwestern Austria; and the Dolomite Mountains in northeastern Italy. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for Lithuania, Belarus, central and western Ukraine, northwestern Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and central France. Moderate deficits will persist in western Bulgaria.

Moderate to extreme surpluses are forecast for Ireland and northern United Kingdom (UK). Surpluses of generally similar intensity are expected in northern European Russia, and deficits in southern European Russia.

From December 2019 through February 2020, deficits will nearly disappear from Central and Eastern Europe, leaving much of the region in normal water conditions. Severe to exceptional deficits are forecast for northern Finland, though conditions in the south will normalize. Likewise, deficits in southern Sweden will nearly disappear while persisting in the center and northern sections of the nation. Some deficits will emerge south of Valencia, Spain. Surpluses will persist in Ireland and the northern UK and will emerge in southern Norway and pockets of southern Sweden, and from Switzerland through southern Germany into northern Austria, northern Czechia, and northern Slovakia. Surpluses will increase in northern European Russia and will include extreme to exceptional anomalies.

The forecast for the remaining months – March through May 2020 – indicates that surpluses will persist in southern Norway, shrink in Ireland and the northern UK, increase somewhat in pockets of Central Europe, and persist but moderate in northern European Russia. Deficits are forecast for northern Finland, central and northern Sweden, and scattered pockets around the Mediterranean.

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

Record rainfall in southeastern Spain in mid-September caused heavy flooding that killed at least six people and required emergency rescue of 3,500 in the regions of Valencia, Murcia, and eastern Andalusia. Police closed all bridges crossing the Segura River in the city of Murcia as the river surged, sweeping away parked cars and flooding homes in riverside towns.

Recent research indicates that people in Britain whose homes were damaged by floods and other severe weather are 50 percent more likely to suffer mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

One third of France is in a “crisis” due to drought, according to the French government. France’s health minister explained on air that heat waves in France killed 1,500 people this summer. Wildfires flared up in nine French departments in early September.

Drought and extreme temperatures have hampered European production of canola oil, potentially providing an export refuge for Canada, which recently lost part of China’s import market amid political tensions.

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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