A drought at the beginning of the year has triggered water restrictions in 15 departments across France, sparking fears about the winter harvest.
The French agricultural department on Monday warned the unusually low winter rainfall will hit crop yields, just as the world grapples with supply chain disruption from the war in Ukraine.
The worst affected area covers a band stretching diagonally from the south east of the country towards Brittany in the north west.
January to March was among the 10 driest winter periods on record for some regions, leaving 15 of France’s 96 domestic departments with restrictions. Authorities are urging people to save water, and some regions banning car washing and garden watering.
The climate crisis is generally making winters wetter in France.
But the “natural fluctuation” of a dry winter is harder to cope with because the crisis is making summers drier, explained Robert Vautard, director of climate science group Institute Pierre Simon Laplace (ISPL) and IPCC author.
“The situation can be really dramatic if we have a drought in the winter and a climate change driven drought in the summer,” he told Sky News.
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Summer droughts are expected to hit “almost everywhere” in western Europe as the world gets hotter, he said.
He warned of the risk of “restrictions all along the summer in many districts” as well as dry soils hitting crop yields not only in winter.
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Last summer the United Nations scientists warned that climate change would worsen extreme weather including stifling heat and ecological and agricultural drought in the Mediterranean, where summers are expected to warm by more than than the global average.
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Source : Sky News