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Europe Mars Bulletins


27 August 2012

Europe Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No. 08Europe Mars Bulletin Vol. 20 No. 08

Summer crops affected by drought in South and East Europe.
Supplied by: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

Very high temperatures and scarce rainfall characterised the weather conditions in South and South-East Europe from mid-July until mid-August. The dry weather accelerated the harvesting of winter cereals. The inadequate water supply caused irreversible damages in the summer crops. The well-below average yield forecast for summer crops mirrors the severity of the situation in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Seasonal or slightly colder than usual thermal conditions dominated in North and North-West Europe. Precipitation decreased and significant rainfall events became less frequent in this region as compared to the first half of July, except for Ireland and Northern UK where wet conditions persisted. The dryer weather facilitated the harvest of winter cereals and provided good conditions for the growth and development of summer crops.

Areas of Concern

As a consequence of the unfavourable weather conditions grain maize yield is now forecast to be 17.7 % lower than last year. Compared to our last MARS Bulletin of 20th July this is a further decrease of 6.5 % at EU 27 level, caused by a severe decrease of maize yields in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

Sunflower yields are revised down by -6.4 % since our last MARS Bulletin of 20th July, meaning a -16.5 % reduction as compared to 2011 yields.

Agro-Meteorological Overview

Very high temperatures and scarce rainfall characterised the weather conditions in South and South-East Europe until mid-August. The dry weather accelerated the harvesting of winter cereals. The inadequate water supply caused irreversible damages in the summer crops. The well-below average yield forecast for summer crops mirrors the severity of the situation in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Seasonal or slightly colder than usual thermal conditions dominated in North and North-West Europe. Precipitation decreased and significant rainfall events became less frequent in this region as compared to the first half of July. The dryer weather facilitated the harvest of winter cereals and provided good conditions for the growth and development of summer crops.

In the last dekad of July and first dekad of August Northern and Western Europe experienced near-average air temperatures, while Southern and Eastern Europe suffered from hot weather. Recurring heat waves generated unfavourable growing conditions for summer crops and increased the evaporative demand. Mean daily air temperature was +2–4°C higher than the long-term average (LTA) in Central and South Italy, East Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece, as well as further east in Belarus, South Ukraine, Turkey and in the western and southern regions of Russia. The duration of the heat waves reached one week in general, extending up to three weeks in several regions of Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Italy and Ukraine, thus intensifying the negative effects and decreasing further the already moderate yield expectations. Maximum temperatures mostly exceeded 30°C and reached up to 36–43°C. The thermal anomalies approached +5°C in the regions along the western and northern coastline of the Black Sea.

The number of hot days shows well the extraordinary thermal conditions of this summer in Southern and Eastern Europe. The number of hot days (Tmax>30°C) cumulated since 1st May reached 20-40 days more than LTA in a wide belt from Morocco and Spain through Italy and the Balkan region further to the plains of the Caspian Sea.

In the second dekad of August the weather changed significantly in Europe with air temperatures higher than LTA west of 10° East except for Portugal and western Spain. At the same time cold air mitigated the hot spell in the east where decreasing temperatures fluctuated around or slightly below LTA.

During the entire period considered excessive rainfall caused problems and hampered the harvest in the British Isles, in the Alpine region, in Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Precipitation decreased from the last dekad of July in France, Germany and Poland, providing better conditions for the harvest, although abundant local rainfall probably delayed the harvest in regions such as North and South Germany, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, south-western part of Czech Republic and in Poland along the Ukrainian border. Nevertheless, the overall number of days with significant rainfall throughout most of Europe (>5mm) stayed below LTA.

The soil moisture conditions remained favourable for summer crops in most of Western and Northern Europe, satisfying the water requirements of summer crops; in Ireland, Scotland, South Scandinavia and Baltic States the over-wet soil conditions could have caused even some problems.

The situation was completely different in the Southern and Eastern Europe. The long-lasting drought continued in this region, even if in the last dekad of July some rainfall was able to ease temporarily the deficit in limited areas of Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. August started dry with very limited precipitation only. After 12th August considerable rainfall was recorded in Ukraine (especially on the western side), Belarus and West Russia.

The dry weather conditions highly supported the quick and timely harvest of cereals and decreased the harvest losses. Concurrently, the water scarcity compromised the yield potential of summer crops. The insufficient water supply of maize crop during flowering and first stage of grain-filling significantly decreased the yield expectations on the Apennine and Balkan Peninsulas. Therefore yield losses of sugar-beet, potato and even of drought-tolerant sunflower are forecasted.

The very dry soil conditions in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary show similarity with the previous year, projecting possibly a difficult seed bed preparation and sowing campaign as well as unfavourable sprouting conditions for rape-seeds.

Weather Forecast for the Coming Days: 21 to 31 August

The dry and hot conditions will continue in Southern and Eastern Europe; on the contrary, wet conditions and temperatures close to average are forecast in Northern and Central Europe.

Forecast Temperatures

In the next days Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Southern England, and Scandinavia will accumulate a slightly lower temperature sum as compared to the long-term average (LTA). Air temperatures in Central Europe are expected to be close or slightly above LTA. On the other hand, in Southern and Eastern Europe a very warm period is forecast with average maximum air temperatures remaining above 30°C for many days. In Hungary, Romania, North-West Bulgaria, parts of the Balkan Peninsula, but also in the eastern Po valley, average daily temperatures will be about 4-6°C above LTA. Temperature accumulation in this region will be 20-40% larger than LTA.

Forecast Precipitation

Abundant precipitation is forecast around the North Sea, mainly in Northern United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia, but also Austria, Slovenia, Southern Poland, Eastern Ukraine and Southern Russia. In many of these areas cumulated rainfall will exceed LTA by 30 mm, and locally the total amount of rainfall may exceeded 80 mm, with a possible temporary excess of water. In the next days storms are expected to occur in the wider Alpine Region. On the contrary, no significant rainfall is expected in the Mediterranean region from Spain to southern Italy, Greece and Turkey. Also South-East Europe from Romania and Bulgaria towards the Balkan Peninsula will remains almost dry, with the sum of precipitation forecast at 20-40% less than LTA.

Pastures in Europe – Update Remote Sensing Monitoring

Dry Spell in Mediterranean Region and Black Sea Countries

The dry spell intensifies in some regions of Italy and the Black Sea area, together with high temperatures during the last months. The pastures are reflecting the negative effects of an increase in the evaporative demand by a drastic decrease of green biomass, especially in Romania.

The dry spell in Spain and Portugal persisted with no significant rainfall since mid-May in most of the regions except Cantabria. The pasture season has finished in the Dehesa area, with biomass production levels substantially below average due to adverse weather conditions. Average results are expected in Galicia, Asturias and País Vasco.

In Italy air temperatures higher than long-term average (LTA) were registered during the last two months, combined with a lack of rainfall, damaging pastures and fodder maize in Emilia Romagna and Veneto. Pasture conditions are still at average in South Piemonte and Lombardia. Prospect for the coming period is not favourable due to the on-going dry spell on the entire peninsula.

The positive conditions for pastures observed along the season continue in France, favoured by mild temperatures and sufficient water supply during July and August. Therefore, biomass production reaches high levels in almost all regions, especially in Bretagne, Pays de la Loire and Rhone-Alpes. In the Benelux the expectations are slightly better than average.

Precipitation above LTA continues in Ireland and UK, with temperatures close to LTA. The biomass accumulation remains high in England and Scotland, but the production levels have decreased in Ireland and Wales, both affected by a deficit in incident radiation as a consequence of the persistent cloud cover.

Positive results are expected for Germany, with biomass accumulation currently exceeding LTA in all regions. A combination of abundant precipitation – especially in the north – and warmer than usual temperatures during last month has enhanced production levels. Expectations are also favourable in Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The outlook remains positive for Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The high production levels of biomass continue, favoured by warm temperatures and abundant water supply. Production levels exceeded substantially seasonal values in southern Sweden, favoured by mild temperatures. The biomass accumulation in Denmark and Finland has been positive in the last month and the expectations are optimistic for the forthcoming weeks.

In Romania and the Black Sea area the intense hot spell experienced during last month, together with a lack of rainfall, has drastically ended the positive evolution of pastures reported at the beginning of summer. Remote sensing indicators show a sharp decrease of the green biomass that can be associated with an early senescence.

August 2012

Source: MARS BULLETIN – EC - JRC

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