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Drought Bulletin June 2023

Percentage of territory affected by severe-extreme drought - SPI24 (source Drought Observatory - CNR IBE)

In June, the long-lasting drought (24 months) at the European level continues to hold its grip, especially over the western Mediterranean areas and the east. Meanwhile, Scandinavia, particularly Sweden, is grappling with a significant rainfall deficit in the last 3 months, April to June, affecting over half of the territory.

In Italy, the rains of the past two months have brought rainfall levels back to normal values compared to the short and medium-term accumulations (3-6 months).

The sea temperatures in 2023 have consistently been above average (as have the last 3 years), but starting from the second half of July, they are experiencing a powerful surge, with anomalies reaching over 4°C in some areas. This warming has a significant impact on increasing the atmospheric water vapour content, which in turn can favour the occurrence of very intense precipitation events.

The water reserves in the large lakes and basins of the north, from mid-May to mid-June, have returned to average values (if not higher, especially for Lake Maggiore and Lake Iseo), but they are expected to decrease again in the second half of June due to increased demand for irrigation purposes. An exception is Lake Garda, which remains around normal values, with a filling percentage compared to the maximum available capacity (volume between the minimum and maximum limits of water regulation activity) at around 70%.

The Po River also follows a similar trend. After peaking in May and early June, the water levels have returned to decrease. However, the level of criticality is generally rated as “low with precipitation,” although there are some concerns in the Alessandria and Cuneo areas, Western Emilia, and the Delta, where the sea level rise inland is about 20 km (source: Permanent Observatory on Water Uses of the Po River Basin District).

The hydroelectric sector production in Northern Italy maintains values significantly higher than the previous year and very similar, in the week of July 10-17, to those of 2021 (Source: ENTSO-E).

Forecast for the coming months

Regarding the temperatures for the August-October quarter, European meteorological centres are almost unanimous in predicting above-average values across Europe, including Italy.

As for rainfall, the quarter is expected to be wetter than average, particularly in the central-western Mediterranean region. Italy, as a whole, is likely to be affected by this phenomenon as well.

The temperatures of the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas (especially the central-northern sector) are also above average, especially in August and September.



Read the complete June 2023 Bulletin

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