Droughts in Europe:
Europe was repeatedly affected by droughts of varying extent, duration and intensity with severe impacts on the economy, society and natural ecosystems. The severity of these impacts not only depends on the characteristics of the drought event, but also on the exposed assets, the economic and natural vulnerability of the affected regions and the coping capacity of societies.
Over the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, a trend for an increase in drought frequency, duration and intensity is recognisable for various European regions, notably for the Mediterranean.
The adverse effects of climate change will likely exacerbate this situation, leading to an increasing gradient from the more drought-prone southern regions to the less affected northern regions, without sparing Western and Central Europe. Recent political initiatives demonstrate a growing political and public awareness of the problem and try to promote a change of paradigm, away from the prevailing disaster management to a pro-active risk management.
The latter entails the development of appropriate monitoring and forecasting systems, the promotion of a water-saving culture, and the implementation of drought policies and drought management plans across the European continent.