by Plutonium Page
Mon Jul 11th, 2005 at 06:49:14 PM EST
Promoted by Sirocco.
Back in 2003, Europe was hit by a serious heat wave, along with a terrible drought. 19,000 people died, and the drought created a crisis for farmers' livestock and crops.
A year later, BBC News online reported that scientists are predicting "brutal" and increasingly worse heat waves as time goes on.
It looks like things might be bad again this year:
France is facing its worst water shortage since 1976, with rivers drying up, reservoirs struggling to meet demand, and rationing measures introduced in the most severely hit areas.
In some regions water levels are at their lowest for 54 years after nine months of exceptionally dry weather and up to 60% less rainfall than normal.
Farmers say their crops are at risk. Restrictions on irrigating fields, introduced in 50 of the country's 95 departments, are already hitting cereal production, according to agriculture specialists.
Teams of "water police" have been patrolling farming areas to enforce the restrictions on irrigation and handing out fines of up to 1,500 (£1,000). But faced with losing their crops many farmers are prepared to risk being caught.
I'm from New Mexico, and we're used to "water police"; I've never heard of this happening in Europe, but I'll leave it to Jérôme and other Europeans to answer that question.
The article mentions that another hot summer is in store, which would compound the water crisis in France.
The map below shows average rainfall in Europe from 1 April to 30 June 2003 (click to enlarge).
I assume the data for this year will be available sometime this summer.
The point is that the heat wave is repeating itself; whether or not this is a trend remains to be seen, but the Science article seems to predict such a trend.