EU satellite images show Europe drying up during recent drought

7 Sep 2022

A series of images shared by the EU's Copernicus programme shows the impact of the recent drought in Europe. Image: EU/Copernicus

The images show a stark transformation for large parts of Europe after the region faced its worst drought in 500 years.

A new sequence of images taken from an EU satellite reveals the impact the recent drought had on Europe.

The images taken from the start of July to the end of August show how much of the continent was impacted by weather conditions, turning massive swathes of land into a desert brown colour.

The photos were taken by the Sentinel-2 satellite, which is part of the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme. This programme looks at the Earth and its environment for the benefit of citizens.

The Copernicus Twitter account shared a video this week with a timelapse of the images, showing the dramatic change in some countries during the recent hot period.

Some of the worst affected regions appear to be the south of the UK, northern France, Spain, Germany, Poland and various countries in eastern Europe.

Last month, an EU agency report said Europe was facing its worst drought in at least 500 years.

The report by the Global Drought Observatory suggested that during the recent drought period, 47pc of Europe was considered to be in warning conditions while 17pc was in alert conditions.

This report added that drought conditions affected river discharges widely across Europe, while reduced water storage had severe impacts on the energy sector “for both hydropower generation and cooling systems of other power plants”.

In July, Adam Bradshaw of ServerChoice said the cooling systems of many data centres were being pushed to “maximum capacity” as a result of heatwave conditions.

Ireland was also impacted by hot and dry conditions this summer, though it was to a smaller degree than other parts of Europe.

During the heatwave, Irish Solar Energy Association CEO Conall Bolger said Ireland has “huge potential” to generate solar energy for the national grid. “The sunlight falling on Ireland is a natural resource,” he said. “Every day we are not making use of it, is a lost opportunity.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic