Almost all continents affected by heat wave in July, drought in August, according to DTE

DTE analyzed the data to find that 125 countries suffered from drought from August 10 to 22; it had reported that 33 countries around the world experienced heat waves in July

The last major drought in Europe was in 2018. This photo shows the Liberty Bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, Serbia, October 26, 2018. Photo: iStock

According to an analysis of data from a report by the European Drought Observatory (EDO) by Down to earth.

The drought, which is continuing, followed a heat wave that was again global in its reach, as reported Down to earth. Some 33 countries on five continents had reported heat waves in July 2022.

Droughts can be meteorological, hydrological, agricultural or even socio-economic. The EDO uses the “Risk of impact of drought on agriculture” as one of the indicators to determine the drought situation in the world.

DTE analyzed EDO data from August 10 to 22, 2022. Large swaths of land across Europe such as France in the west, Germany in the center and Eastern European countries are most at risk the risk of drought, on the agricultural level, DTE found.

On the agricultural level, droughts can have serious repercussions on agricultural production. “Exceptional water stress and heat stress” led to crop production loss, according to the August report from the EDO. The report also predicted a reduction in the yield of corn, soybeans and sunflower due to the current drought.

In Africa, South Sudan and Uganda have been the hardest hit due to the persistent drought situation on the continent. The August EDO report noted:

The extremely severe sequence of failed rainy seasons has caused critical and long-term damage to agriculture, pastures and livestock in large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, northern Uganda , South Sudan and Sudan. The pressure on food security caused by the exceptionally prolonged drought is rapidly increasing.

East African countries are even more vulnerable to drought shocks than the rest of the world. Indeed, coupled with droughts, communities in the region are suffering from intense food insecurity due to other socio-political factors such as conflicts like civil wars and the ongoing pandemic.

The EDO has not yet assigned a reason for the simultaneous drought situations across the world. But DTE had reported a similar simultaneous weather event – extreme heatwaves – that unfolded in July when 33 countries around the world reported heatwaves.

The simultaneous heat wave – at least in the northern hemisphere – was due to planetary wave resonance, according to Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, planetary waves – also known as Rossby waves – can be found in the oceans as well as in the Earth’s atmosphere.

According to the United States National Weather Service, “Rossby atmospheric waves form primarily due to the geography of the Earth. Rossby waves help transfer heat from the tropics to the poles and cold air to the tropics in an effort to restore balance to the atmosphere.

They also help locate the jet stream and mark the path of surface low pressure systems. The slow motion of these waves often results in quite long and persistent weather conditions.