Future droughts, water shortages in parts of western Europe



With a simple analysis, it is possible to show that there is a regional pattern in summer and winter droughts in parts of western Europe. The analysis shows that current winter rainfall is abnormally high, but at other times the rainfall has been very low for long periods. Winter rainfall is important for groundwater recharge and thus for the water supply. The summer droughts have serious effects on the natural environment, agriculture, and water supply. Although general models of future climate predict that long-term winter rainfall is likely to increase in northern and central parts of Europe, it is important to be aware of the natural medium- and short-term variability. Figures 1 and 2 show the deviation of summer and winter rainfall from the mean.