The drought issue: European heat wave as seen from space and its effect on crops

We can feel it, hear it and we can even see it from space. Europe is hit severely by a heat wave. Everybody is sharing images and comparisons of landscapes before and during the drought connected to this heat wave. But what is actually going on? How extreme is it? And most importantly, what is the impact on our agricultural sector? Bart Deronde at VITO in Belgium provides answers to these and other questions regarding the drought in an article published earlier today. Since early spring Belgium and large parts of north-western Europe are facing one of the most intense regional droughts of the past decades. Hot high-pressure air above North America, Europe and Asia are trapped and are blocking low-pressure systems that would bring cooler air and rainfall. The anomaly of precipitation today is similar to the drought of 1976. For the summer crops, such as maize and potatoes for example, the drought is hitting them in the flowering and yield formation stages. These are very sensitive stages in plant development, leading for sure to an irreversible negative impact on the final yield. Read more