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Drought Bulletin September 2023

Even September has been a record-breaking month on a global scale, ranking as the hottest, with a +0.93°C deviation from the 1991-2020 average. In Europe, it was even 2.51°C warmer than the norm. Sea surface temperatures were also exceptional, making this September the second warmest of all months, just after August 2023. Concerning rainfall, this quarter has been particularly dry in Europe, affecting Italy, Switzerland, France, and Greece, as well as many Eastern European countries. Nonetheless, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean experienced extreme weather events of remarkable intensity, including floods in Greece and a cyclone in Libya that resulted in thousands of casualties due to the dam failure upstream of the city of Derna. In Italy, thanks to disturbances in the last days of August and the third decade of September, the major lakes ended the month above the average water level concerning the maximum available capacity (volume ranging between the minimum and maximum limits of water regulation activity), although they later started to decrease in the early weeks of October. Po River levels also show peaks during major disturbances but remain at higher values compared to the same period in 2022. As for groundwater, some areas in the high plains of Verona (ARPA Veneto) and the southern regions of Piedmont (ARPA Piemonte) still have values below historical lows. Hydroelectric power production continues at significantly higher levels than in the past two years.

Forecast for the upcoming months
Regarding air temperatures for the November-January quarter, the overall data from major European forecasting centres for the medium term indicate above-average values across Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean, with a probability ranging from 60-70% for November to 40-50% for January. Sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean and the Northern Atlantic remain above average for the entire quarter, with probabilities ranging from 70 to 100%. Regarding precipitation, the quarter may be around the norm, with a higher likelihood of above-average precipitation in several European regions, including Italy, in November and January.

Global Impacts
The drought and high temperatures in recent months have had repercussions on various human activities and ecosystems.

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Read the Bulletin September 2023


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