European drought threatens crops and electricity supply amid Ukraine crisis – ‘Unprecedented’ | World | New

Alerts are in place across much of the continent as fires have broken out and major rivers have dried up.

It comes as the Met Office declared a red weather warning for extreme heat in the UK on Monday and Tuesday.

The director of the European Copernicus climate change service, Carlo Buontemp, said: “We are witnessing, in fact, a largely unprecedented drought in many regions. [of Europe].”

Hydroelectric power and food production have been strained since the war in Ukraine, as sanctions against Russia have made it more difficult to obtain energy and grain.

Things could get even worse as August hasn’t started yet, a generally very hot month.

Hydrologist from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, Fred Hatterman, told POLITICO: “For some parts of agriculture, things are already bad.

“The forests are weakened. A lot of things would have to happen for it to be a good year.

Many European city dwellers have been urged to reduce their drinking water consumption as the ground becomes even drier and rivers stop flowing.

In northern Italy, the Po basin, one of the country’s largest waterways, has not seen rain for more than 200 days.

READ MORE: Russia issues ‘doomsday’ threat to Ukraine over Crimea

Droughts can occur in southern Europe during the summer months, but this year dry weather is affecting many different countries, such as Germany and Hungary.

Niko Wanders, assistant professor of hydrological extremes at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, warned that ecosystems could “collapse under pressure”.

He added: “It is clear that things are deteriorating in all areas.”

Christi C. Elwood