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Drought in western Mediterranean, February 2022

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Executive summary

  • A large and severe drought has been affecting the western Euro-Mediterranean region. Dry conditions in the Iberian Peninsula are related to an acute lack of precipitation in the first two months of 2022, preceded by a substantial deficit in the last months of 2021. Over the coastal regions of northern Africa and over Andalucía the drought can be attributed to a longer period of below-average precipitation, most likely overlapping with the recent and intense drought event.

  • The vegetation response in the region still shows better than normal conditions, thanks to a slightly warmer than usual winter season. However, the lack of precipitation may cause severe impacts in spring and summer. In northern Africa, the persistent drought conditions already caused bad vegetation conditions.

  • The severe precipitation deficit is already posing a threat to water resources and livestock, while heavy impacts on crops and reservoir storage are expected if the drought conditions will persist.

  • Severely drier than normal conditions are forecasted in the western Euro-Mediterranean region. These forecasts currently represent the main concern, as they point to a possible evolution of the ongoing drought into an extreme event. Monitoring such evolution in the next months is essential for risk and impact assessment.