Drought in China, Europe, and the United States: Is 2022 the driest year on record?

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By Creative Media News

This summer, Europe and parts of China have suffered high temperatures, while drought conditions in Africa have put millions of people at risk of starvation and the American West continues to experience a prolonged lack of precipitation.

Do scientists predict that seasons that are warmer and drier will become the norm, but have the last few months been the driest on record?

How parched is the planet?

The quantity of moisture in the soil, as assessed by satellite photography, is utilized by scientists as one indicator of drought conditions.

To illustrate how extreme recent weather patterns have been, we contrasted the dry circumstances of the past three months to the typical conditions since the turn of the century.

Driest year recorded
Drought in china, europe, and the united states: is 2022 the driest year on record?

This information is derived from soil conditions and temperature data to build a soil moisture anomaly map.

This summer, the majority of Europe experienced significantly drier conditions than the norm for the period 2001 to 2016.

Elsewhere, the western region of China has been extremely dry, with some regions experiencing catastrophic drought. Additionally, parts of sub-Saharan Africa and the United States are suffering extremely dry weather.

“Europe’s worst drought in 500 years”

According to the EU’s Copernicus environmental monitoring program, this summer’s drought in Europe may be the worst the continent has seen in 500 years.

Late in August, at the height of the dry weather, nearly half of Europe suffered from a “soil moisture shortage.”

According to scientists, climate change will continue to cause Europe to endure increasingly regular and persistent droughts, and this year’s dry conditions have harmed agriculture, transportation, and energy production.

Europe drought
Drought in china, europe, and the united states: is 2022 the driest year on record?

This summer, the Rhine, a major river and cargo waterway, plummeted to dangerously low levels, disrupting shipping.

The period from June to August was the warmest on record, and an EU analysis in August predicted at least three more months of “warmer and drier” conditions.

Europe has endured droughts in the past, but in recent years the summers have become increasingly hot, setting numerous records for high temperatures.

Dr. Fred Hattermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research explains, “We have already had five consecutive years of drought, and this year is the worst drought in Europe in hundreds of years.”

Not only has there been less precipitation, but the climate has also become significantly warmer, resulting in a drop in soil moisture overall.

Droughts and floods in China

According to China’s Meteorological Administration, this summer’s heat wave was the longest since records began in the 1960s. The heat wave lasted for more than two months.

Extreme heat and a severe lack of precipitation caused the Yangtze, China’s largest river, to shrink. The river’s drainage basin received 60% less rainfall than typical in August, according to official Chinese data.

Despite the widespread drought in the south of China, excessive rainfall in the north resulted in flooding. Since 1961, the Liao River in northern China has reached its second-highest water level.

Drought in china, europe, and the united states: is 2022 the driest year on record?

According to China’s yearly report on climate change, precipitation has gradually increased across the nation since 2012.

In July, the Chinese government issued eight drought alerts and nearly 13,000 alerts for excessive rainfall. More than 28 drought warnings and 10,000 heavy rain warnings were issued for the same period in 2019.

The occurrence of both extreme wet and dry weather is a hallmark of global climate change.

US National Academy of Sciences water expert Peter Gleick explains, “When areas of dryness expand, such as in Siberia and the western United States, that waterfalls elsewhere in a smaller area, aggravate flooding.

Warnings of famine in Africa

Drought conditions in eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Somalia have led the UN to warn that around 22 million people could be at risk of hunger.

According to Oxfam, “we are now in the third year of very low rainfall and high temperatures in that portion of the continent.”

The rainfall in Somalia from March to May was the lowest in the last six decades. Large portions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda have also suffered drier-than-average conditions.

Nonetheless, studies of soil moisture reveal that in several nations, including South Sudan, Mauritania, and Senegal, there has been serious flooding.

In addition, many regions of southern Africa have had rainfall levels well above average.

According to research published by the World Bank in 2021, “compared to 1970-1979, the number of droughts and floods increased by approximately triple and tenfold, respectively, between 2010 and 2019.

Conditions of drought in the US

Drought conditions have become the norm in the western United States due to years of drier and hotter weather.

In a February paper, scientists stated that the American west has seen the most severe drought conditions in the recent two decades compared to the previous 1,200 years.

In addition, this summer’s hot and dry conditions caused forest fires in several states and a decline in water storage levels.

According to NASA, Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the United States that borders Arizona and Utah, is at its lowest level since it was filled in the 1960s.

In the following decades, climate models show that the region will continue to receive significantly less precipitation than average.

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