Europe’s extreme high temperatures causing forest fires and drought

For many people a summer heatwave means a chance to enjoy sunny weather at the beach or in the park.

A lot of people suffer from low levels of Vitamin D, the “sunshine” vitamin. So the fine weather tends to result in an elevated mood in many people, especially as sunshine records have been broken across the continent.

The fine weather may have been good news for sun-worshipers and the seaside holiday trade, but many other aspects of everyday life have been impacted.

Water shortages have begun to hit agricultural output. Poor grazing has forced farmers to bring out fodder saved for the winter months to supplement the meagre grazing available to cattle. Scandinavia has been particularly badly affected. Sweden has strict rules on the importation of animal feed.

Although much of Europe has been exceptionally dry and sunny, there have been some exceptions. Southern Europe, from Iberia through southern Italy to the Balkans and Turkey, has seen twice the average rainfall through the period from May to July.

Much of this rainfall has come with thunderstorms and flash flooding has been widespread. Unfortunately the rapid runoff rarely makes its way into the rivers and watercourses, so even these regions may not escape the threat of drought as autumn approaches.

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