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Europe Scorched

24.04.2023
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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-65129735

Last year, Europe experienced the hottest summer on record. Meteorologists have more and more confidence that the cataclysm will repeat itself this year. Drought and heat promise Europe a crop failure of fruits and herbs, high prices in stores, unnavigable rivers and excess mortality. According to the latest data from the European Observatory EDO, a drought warning has already been extended to a quarter of the territory of 27 EU countries. The situation is especially difficult in the south: in most of Spain and in many parts of Portugal and Italy.

Alpine glaciers are firmly in the world leaders in the rate of disappearance. The less snowfall, the faster it melts, and there is less and less water for irrigation, shipping and power generation. Every year in Europe there is a steady increase in the number of days when the continent as a whole experiences C3S "severe" or "very intense" heat, and in southern Europe the same trend extends to "extreme heat stress" days.

Scientists have long warned that the warming of the planet disrupts the climate balance and leads to weather "swings" - floods, hurricanes and frosts are increasingly common in winter, and drought and heat in summer, and destructive hailstorms instead of nourishing rain. Almost all countries of the world subscribed to the conclusions that warming is a direct consequence of human activities and emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They agreed to reduce emissions and recognized that even if the sky were to be smoked immediately, the gases accumulated in the atmosphere would not go anywhere and warming would continue, but the timing of the inevitable apocalypse would be pushed beyond the horizon.

Dried rivers create problems with the delivery of goods and slow down industry and trade, already undermined by the post-COVID crisis and war in Ukraine. The lack of moisture in the ground undermines agriculture and promises to accelerate prices in an already record inflation for 40 years. True, so far, drought threatens only the south of Europe, where fruits, olives and greens are mainly grown. Wheat and other grains in France, Poland and Germany are doing well with heavy rains in March and April.

Without water, electricity generation is reduced both at hydroelectric power plants and at nuclear power plants, as was the case last year in France, when the water level was insufficient to cool nuclear reactors. As a result, in the summer we have to burn the gas stored for the winter, the prices for which are breaking records due to the Kremlin’s energy war against the EU.

True, renewable solar energy is in abundance. According to the Copernicus Center, if the wind speed in the past 2022 in Europe was almost at the level of the 30-year average, then the amount of solar radiation on the surface continued to increase and became a record for the entire 40-year history of observations.

Forest fires are another devastating consequence of dry and hot weather that threatens human life and health. They destroy houses, fields, forests, roads and bridges, reduce economic growth and increase greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

According to the latest data from the European EFFIS system, the "anomalous" level of fire danger will now remain almost throughout Spain and part of Portugal, as well as in northern Europe - in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.

Heat kills people. Estimates of the scale vary, but the fact of excess mortality in extremely hot years is indisputable. According to scientists, if it were not for global warming, the number of victims of extremely hot weather would be less than one and a half times. More than 15,000 people died last year due to heat waves in Spain, Germany, the UK, France and Portugal, according to a report by the UN World Meteorological Organization published on Friday.

 

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