Such a drought of the soil, which has affected Europe, China or the United States, is likely to occur approximately every 20 years with the current climate, against approximately every 400 years or even less often without warming, according to the researchers from the World Weather Attribution (WWA), a network of pioneer researchers in the attribution of extreme events to climate change.
The summer drought has affected many European countries, starting with France, with dry rivers and restrictions in some localities. Parts of the United States or China were also affected.
The consequences were felt in the agricultural sector, with declining harvests and possible effects on already high inflation. This situation has also favored forest fires and disrupted the production of electricity, particularly hydraulic and nuclear.
In the northern hemisphere (outside the tropics), human-induced climate change has made drought “much more likely”, according to the researchers, who work at prestigious institutions in Europe, the United States and New Zealand. -Zealand.
This probability was increased by a factor of “at least 20” for lack of soil moisture in the root zone, the part of the soil corresponding to 1 meter underground and where plants extract water to feed themselves. It is when this zone is affected that we speak of “agricultural” or “ecological” drought.
The probability of the event was increased by a factor of “at least 5” for surface soil moisture, which is only the top seven centimeters.
” But as is usually the case for quantities that are difficult to observe, the exact figures are uncertain.“, warn the authors. ” Estimates of the influence of climate change in the study are conservative: the true influence of human activities is likely higher“, estimates the WWA.
Warming since the start of the industrial era, which has been fueled by fossil fuels, has already reached almost 1.2°C, leading to a series of disasters. The Paris agreement aims to keep this warming below 2° and if possible close to 1.5°.