Less rain in winter, dry summers: the weather in Europe could change further in the future. Above all, the extent of global warming plays an important role here.

In a climate study on drought in Europe, the German Weather Service (DWD) assumes that dry summers, but also lack of precipitation in winter, can shape the weather in parts of the continent in the future.

In the long term, depending on the extent of future global warming, precipitation in the Mediterranean will decrease, the study said. In summer there is a risk of increased drought in Central and especially Western Europe.

drought in Europe

Regarding the development this year, the DWD climatologists explained that since spring there has been an extensive drought in Europe, which in some cases has had a significant impact on water levels and agriculture, as well as restrictions on water use. Some parts of Europe, including northern Italy, were also dry in winter. In the central Mediterranean region, spring was the fourth driest since 1901, and in Germany almost all springs since 2009 have been too dry. Drought could also occur in large parts of Europe in the next three months.

According to the study, there is a precipitation deficit in almost all of the eleven European regions examined. Only the Baltic States and Scandinavia have not had too little precipitation in the past few months. In contrast, in the northern Italian Po Valley, which is currently being plagued by severe drought, precipitation levels have been below average since August 2021 with the exception of November 2021. The highest rainfall in this region falls between May and November. Since August 2021, however, five of these otherwise wet months have only brought between 50 and 75 percent of the usual rainfall, it said.

Below average rainfall

In Central Europe, too, precipitation has been below average since last September – the only exception was February 2022. March 2022 in particular was exceptionally dry and only brought around a third of the usual amounts of precipitation, it said.

According to initial calculations, large parts of Europe will again be drier in the next three months than the long-term average for the comparative period from 1991 to 2020.