Dead trees in a pine forest in northern Saxony. According to the researchers, the frequency and magnitude of successive droughts in Central Europe will increase by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. ). Photo: Sebastian Willnow / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa. (Source package: dpa)
Leipzig (dpa) – The frequency and magnitude of successive droughts will increase dramatically in central Europe by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.
This is the result of a study by scientists at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, which was published in the magazine Scientific Reports. A German-Czech team led by UFZ had classified the two drought years 2018 and 2019 in the long-term global climate data series of the last 250 years, as reported by UFZ.
The result showed that there had not been two consecutive summer droughts of this magnitude in central Europe since 1766. More than 50 percent of the area of central Europe has been severely affected. “It is important that we recognize the importance of droughts in successive years and that we develop a holistic framework for modeling risk,” said one of the study’s authors, Rohini Kumar.
In the climate scenario, which assumes the greatest increase in greenhouse gases by 2100, researchers predict a seven-fold increase in the number of such periods of summer double drought in central Europe in the second half of the 21st century. The agricultural areas affected by drought would increase by more than 40 million hectares.
With a moderate increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, the number of double summer droughts is reduced by almost half compared to the scenario with the highest emissions. Assuming very low greenhouse gas emissions, the predicted frequency of double summer droughts is still more than 90% lower than the highest.
The results suggest that reducing greenhouse gas emissions could help reduce the risk of more frequent and prolonged consecutive summer droughts in central Europe, according to the study.