This summer has seen extremely high temperatures in parts of China and Europe. Beyond that, there is aridity in Africa that has put millions at risk of famine. Besides that, there is persistently low rainfall in the American West. So, have the last several months been the driest on record? Scientists have also predicted warmer and drier seasons are more likely to become the norm.
How Is This Detected?
The amount of soil moisture, as determined by satellite photography, is one indicator of drought conditions utilised by scientists. To get a sense of how extreme recent weather patterns have been, scientists compared these dry circumstances over the past three months. They wanted to get the average conditions since the turn of the century.
What Have The Droughts Done?
According to the EU’s Copernicus environmental programme, the drought that has affected Europe this summer may be the worst the continent has seen in 500 years. This is big news because it shows how far we are when it comes to climate change. The “soil moisture deficit” affected over half of Europe at the height of the dry period in late August. This also extends to other regions. For example, according to China’s Meteorological Administration, this summer’s lengthy spell of high temperatures in China lasted for more than two months and was the longest since records began in the 1960s.
The UN has also issued a warning that 22 million people may be in danger of famine due to drought conditions in eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Somalia. According to Oxfam, the region of the continent is “currently in the third year of very little rainfall paired with high temperatures.” The UN is directly working on gathering data on these regions and countries for whom drought has had terrible consequences.
The heatwave in the UK, this time around, was especially shocking as the temperatures were soaring. They went higher than expectations too. Let’s be real about this as well. The reason why this is such a huge cause of concern for western countries is also that the people there can not handle these high temperatures. They are simply not used to it.
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