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The December Drought Bulletin by Drought Observatory

Map by drought.climateservices.it

The year 2022 turned out to be a year of climatic extremes. It was amongst the hottest, probably the hottest year for the central-western European and central Mediterranean countries: nine out of twelve months recorded positive anomalies, and the summer was characterized by extremes including an intense heatwave, drought, record temperatures, extreme heat stress and wildfires.

Considering the rainfall data, severe-extreme long-term drought still affects a good percentage of the European territory. According to ISAC-CNR data, in Italy the year 2022 was the driest year since 1800, and by the end of the period, the deficit was 30%. This deficit rises to 40% for the North, which saw 11 out of 12 months of below-average rainfall and only December on average. The snow season is also below average, but above all, it is lower than the previous season. The Apennines are the most affected areas, where the snow cover is limited to the highest peaks. Therefore we must hope for copious snowfalls and temperatures in line with or below average values in the remaining winter months in order to ward off the spectre of drought in 2023.

Forecasts for the coming months. As far as temperatures in the January-March quarter are concerned, most European meteorological centres agree in indicating, with a probability of between 40 and 60 per cent, above-average values, not only in Italy but also in other European areas. This should not lead us to think that there will be no cold air but that the quarter could be warmer. As far as rainfall is concerned, on the other hand, the signal is not unequivocal, although the values should be in the normal range, and a higher probability of rain could occur between March and April.

Read the complete bulletin on drought.climateservices.it»

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