European Heat, Drought, Fires Bite Deep as 1 Million Impacted by Water Rationing in Rome

“This year was not bad, it was catastrophic. I can’t remember a year like this since 1992 when I was a little child,”Joaquin Antonio Pino, a cereal farmer in Sinlabajos, Avila.

“We will see a lot more surprises and fires burning in places that don’t have a fire history. We’ll see more fires and more intense fires in the Mediterranean and new fire situations in countries that don’t really expect it.” — Alexander Held, a senior expert at the European Forest Institute.

“Rome faces eight hours a day without running water after a halt was ordered on pumping water from a nearby lake.” — BBC.

(Europe — sweltering under heat and drought — is blanketed by triple the typical number of wildfires during July of 2017. Image date is July 17. Bottom edge of frame is approximately 2,500 miles. Image source: NASA Worldview.)

Water Rationing in Rome

According to reports from BBC, Reuters, and The Guardian, about 1 million residents of Rome are now facing 8 hour periods without water supplies. Across the country, lake levels are at record lows after the driest spring in 60 years followed by a series of severe European heatwaves that recent scientific research indicates was made substantially more likely by human-caused climate change due to fossil fuel burning. Drought-related reductions of water withdrawals from drying lakes are spurring these major curtailments of public water access.

Severe Crop Damage

As Romans face water rationing for the first time in modern memory, across southern Europe, farmers are reeling as olive and wheat crops are severely stressed by both drought and by temperatures that in some places have hit in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (105 F). The cost of Spanish wheat has risen more than 40 percent even as prices for Italian olives have spiked by 50 percent. Cereal crop production in both states have fallen to the lowest level in 20 years. Meanwhile, damage estimates to crops from the widespread heat and drought in Italy alone has risen to between 1 and 2.3 billion dollars.

Warming temperatures spreading northward into Europe from the Sahara as climates warm have generated widespread stress for farmers over recent years. These growers, increasingly sensitive to climate change-based stresses are, more and more often, questioning the viability of farming as a livelihood.  From Reuters:

Some see rising temperatures as a long-term trend, which threatens the viability of farming in the region.

“In this situation … you realize it’s almost impossible to keep going. You think OK, this year I will try to manage, but if the harvest is like this next year you won’t be able to cope any more,” said farmer Tocchi, who is also the local head of farmers’ group Confagricoltura.

Triple the ‘Normal’ Rate of Wildfire Burning

Heat and drought hitting water supplies and crops was also accompanied by a severe spate of wildfires raging across Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, France, Portugal, and Spain during recent weeks. Thousands have been evacuated as tens of thousands of acres burned and armies of firefighters battled blazes across numerous states. Tragically, 64 people were killed by one swiftly-moving Portugal fire during early July.

(Rates of wildfire burning were already heightened as warming intensified through Europe during 2008 through 2016. The 2017 spike, however, is triple even that already elevated level. Image source: EFFIS.)

Overall, the 677 fires igniting across Europe during 2017 is about triple that of an average year for Continent. An increased rate of burning that experts are also blaming on climate change as temperatures increase and fire seasons lengthen. From EuroNews:

Alexander Held, a senior expert at the European Forest Institute, backed Curt’s claim saying fires were starting earlier and burning for longer.

“We will see a lot more surprises and fires burning in places that don’t have a fire history,” Held told Euronews. “Spain burns, yes, but it’s not a surprise. We’ll see more fires and more intense fires in the Mediterranean and new fire situations in countries that don’t really expect it.”


NASA Worldview



The Guardian

The Atlantic


Hat tip to Plaza Red


Leave a comment


  1. wili

     /  July 24, 2017

    Yeah, lots of heat all over! I have a feeling that we are in the midst of a ‘step change’–we are not seeing the drop back from last years El Nino records that many thought we might see.

    Following up on some discussions of afforestation from the previous thread, here’s a nice story from the Guardian of the little guy effectively stopping deforestation–nice pictures, too:

    ” Vietnamese smallholders help end deforestation – photo essay

    In the foothills of Vietnam’s Annamite mountains, hundreds of small forest owners are joining forces to produce sustainable acacia used in furniture around the world. With much of the country’s plantations owned by individuals, expanding the approach may be the best chance for saving forests in the Greater Mekong…”

    • wili

       /  July 24, 2017

      Can we just say it, now? …most of the world’s most powerful, especially those in the US, are fiddling as Rome burns.

      • Ironic and sadly fitting. One of the articles I read while researching the above piece quoted a local who said, in effect, that Trump should come to Rome and deny climate change to those who’ve recently lost access to drinking water.

        Of course, there’s some blame to be cast on leaky pipes. But Rome’s pipes have been leaking for decades. The drought, however, is something that’s new.

    • synaxis

       /  July 24, 2017

      Re: your reference, wili, to (the prospect of) a ‘step change’, this is consistent with the outlook of S&S and other research reported by Robert Hunziker in his Counterpunch article today: “Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up”.

      • Sometimes Counter Punch punches a bit over the top — attacking the wrong people or exaggerating/conflating issues. This particular article isn’t too bad, so I’ll let it stand. That said, there’s one bit here that is a little underdone. BAU climate change is probably worse, with longer lasting catastrophic effects, than nuclear war. Slow in the ramp up. But the fat tail can be pretty amazingly bad.

        S&S recent statements are worth taking note of while also keeping an eye on the larger scientific consensus views (reticence vs extreme alarm can produce a misleading dialectic, however, so it’s good to keep perspective). New awareness of surface melt on Antarctica is concerning as are recent stresses to ice shelves.

        I think we have punched the extremes up a notch or two at 1 to 1.2 C warming. And we appear to be at or near a number of thresholds.

        With regards to wili’s statement, We appear to be backing off by about 0.1 C from the strong El Nino period. NASA’s Gavin Schmidt is tracking for 1.1 C this year (approx). Usually, the draw-down, due to variability, would be about 0.2 C following a major event like the one we’ve just seen. Positive PDO probably accounts for at least some of the lag. But polar amplification is producing a disturbing signal as well.

      • Worrying that the Mauna Loa CO2 numbers arn’t dropping back the way they usually do post a big El Nino. In this June and July, they are averaging about 2.5ppm above last year. Hopefully, the difference will start shrinking soon.

        • The difference has dropped a bit. We were close to 3 ppm per year during 2015 and 2016. Going back to 2.5 isn’t really comforting, however. The past decadal range was near 2.2 C. So multiple years in the 2.5 to 3 C range would tend to raise concerns that something may be happening to sinks (ocean primarily) and/or stores (tropics and poles primarily). Premature to call that as we are still at near record levels of global human carbon emissions (plateau). However, we should have some expectation that sinks at least are degrading somewhat.

          Counter to the trend of degrading sinking are large ocean algae blooms — which lock more carbon into the ocean as they increase acidification. Although I think warming losses and CO2 ocean saturation win out in that tug of war.

      • Mark in OZ

         /  July 24, 2017

        Oh boy!
        From article:
        “Aircraft measurements of CO2 and CH4, as well as confirmation of those measurements from scientific measuring devices on towers in Barrow, Alaska show that over the course of two years Alaska emitted the equivalent of 220 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from biological sources alone, not anthropogenic.”

        Later, makes the point that the above 220 mil tons is equivalent to entire annual US commercial GHG release and the ‘development’ is the thawing of the permafrost-both land-based and sub-sea in this region. Significant increase in GHG with likely significant impacts before a new equilibrium is reached.

        • The U.S. emitted 1.5 billion tons of carbon last year (approx) from fossil fuel and related sources. Convert that to GHG and you get about about 5 billion tons per year. 220 million tons over two years is less than 2.5 percent of that total.

          I’d watch the way Counter Punch words things.

          In any case, we do need a reference for what the expected biological emissions rate is for Alaska and what the rate of growth is vs past baselines. It’s likely that we are seeing some early signs of environmental feedback, but we don’t have a larger indicator from the broader scientific monitors. In my opinion, it’s kind of frustrating when trying to track feedbacks. Instead, you get these reports that look worrying, and then you have contradictory reports that look less worrying or tend to tamp down worry. We should be able to get an idea of the total global carbon flux and the rate of growth — sinks, stores, feedback.

          I’d also remain aware of a bit of spin that is sometimes applied here. There’s often this false implication that biological sources of carbon emission are larger than human sources of carbon emission. And while the laid-down Earth System carbon stores are quite large, humans are far more efficient than the Earth System at unearthing them and emitting them. So the notion that earth system carbon emissions are presently heading toward anything approaching the size of the human emission is untrue, a red herring. That said, it does appear that there is valid concern that increasing Earth System carbon fluxes are starting to add a multiplier effect to present human emissions. An extra 1 billion tons of carbon from the Earth System per year is certainly possible this Century and 2-3 billion tons of carbon from the Earth System per year under BAU fossil fuel burning as a feedback isn’t something I’d be comfortable discounting.

          It’s unlikely that biological sources of carbon are capable of sustaining a release of similar scale to the present human emission of 11 billion tons per year over a time span of note without major levels of warming beyond what we see now (2 C would be a worrying level of forcing in this regard pushing at carbon stores that are about 2-3 million years old, 4 C is probably rather dangerous because it starts to push at carbon stores that were laid down 15-25 million years ago). However, present warming in the range of 1-2 C accompanied with the present 3 watts per meter squared forcing at the top of the atmosphere may be starting to kick off a concerning series in which feedbacks ultimately result in far greater warming over a long time period. For example, 492 ppm CO2e in 2017, if constant could warm the Earth by 4 C long term all by itself. And if you end up with another 500 billion tons of carbon over another few centuries from Earth System feedbacks then the longer tail warming could push up closer to 5 or 6 C.

          A large methane burp might add a CO2e larger than the human emission for a year or a decade or more. But at present temperatures and forcings, that is also very unlikely. In any case, the risk of such an event — rising with greater levels of warming and heat forcing — should be a clear warning to halt fossil fuel burning and to draw down atmospheric carbon as swiftly as possible.

        • Mark in OZ

           /  July 25, 2017

          Many thanks Robert for the detailed and considered response; especially around the ‘frustration’ of not having a suitable ‘reference’ to hang our hat on.

          Without reliable and measurable data, it’s tempting (for many including me) to switch to ‘intuitive’ mode especially with regard to the cryosphere and its fragility which is certainly under immense pressure and currently revealing the changes already in motion.

          The recent discovery of surface lakes on the ice, the pingos, the melting permafrost, all seemingly relate to the extraordinary high temperatures that have ‘arrived’ in the arctic. What data we do possess, suggests a major transformation is underway and though the specifics have yet to be isolated, the intuitive side of our consciousness is already (naturally) preparing us for a period where the environment we have known evolves to one we do not.

          Perhaps there will be an event of such magnitude that it will help strengthen and accelerate our collective resolve to adopt and embrace the renewables. If there’s one quality that we humans possess, it is that.

  2. climatehawk1

     /  July 24, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

  3. PlazaRed

     /  July 24, 2017

    Midnight southern Spain. 25/July.
    The temperature outside my house is +27/C = 80.6/F.
    Nearest major wildfires in Northern Portugal, minor ones scattered all over the place in Southern Europe.
    Thank you for the blog subjects and the hat tip for something I must have written.

    The ground in my area is very dry, cracks are appearing, not just in the ground, roads and the floors of dams where water should be but also in the walls of buildings as the ground contracts away underneath the foundations.

    Rome is a big story here now for the water shortages but its all over the place on the Mediterranean coasts.
    Where there are any olives on trees they are smaller than normal for the time of year and a lot of trees don’t have many or any olives on them, so with Spain being the worlds major olive producer with 10 times more olive trees than Italy, expect price rises if there is much oil at all next year. Even if it rains a lot from now onwards there are not many olives to swell up with the moisture.
    Today at a local farm I was working at, half the almond trees were dead, 2 out of the 3 fig trees dead and the third in a bad way, grapes on the vines were tiny and very few, half the branches on some oak trees were dead and the leaves all brown, possibly the tree reacting to the drought?
    The solar panels were covered in a thick red dust from the Sahara Desert. Not much sunlight getting through that!
    The cumba cactuses have a white fungus infection which is causing the plates to die. Even the rats which were nesting in an old truck have gone or been eaten by the eagles and vultures if they had expired.
    For the first time ever today, I saw peach faced wild parrots in the area possibly moved here looking for food?
    Fires will probably be the next big problem here as there is still about 2 months until there is a possibility of rain. Meanwhile in the north east of Spain around Barcelona hailstones up to 8 cms or 3 inches have been causing massive amounts of damage to crops, buildings and vehicles, along with localized flooding from concentrated downpours.
    So while millions of tourists holiday oblivious on the beaches a few miles away the harsh interior is suffering simply because of water shortages on a major scale.
    Temps tomorrow expected to be in the low +40s/C here, about 100s+/F

    • You’ve just been very diligent keeping us appraised of the situation in Spain and Portugal — which has aided my overall awareness of the larger warming related events in Europe. These kinds of observations are very helpful. So thank you for sharing them.

  4. PlazaRed

     /  July 24, 2017

    Below is a WU weather forecast link to a nearby city, Cordoba, =30/c at 1 am. Big olive and wheat growing area, Arab capital of Spain and founded by the Romans on the banks of the Guadalquivir river, now a mere trickle of water under the still used Roman bridge.
    Every day is almost the same, it has been for months now with temps up to 47/c at one point, (new Spanish record!) no rain of course. Fortunately, there is not much to burn other wise that would be an added problem.

    • Thanks again for the update and the link. For the more Fahrenheit minded, 47 C = 116 F. That’s a very Sahara like temperature in a wheat growing region.

      Just something to consider — this drought will probably not be permanent, though it was more likely. When the precip regime does switch, it will tend to switch hard. That said, the overall tendency for Southern Europe, much like the SW U.S., will be for more drought.

  5. wili

     /  July 25, 2017

    Things are bad here stateside, too: “Drought in High Plains the worst some farmers have ever seen”

    “Drought in North Dakota is laying waste to fields of normally bountiful food and hay crops and searing pastures that typically would be home to multitudes of grazing cattle.

    Some longtime farmers and ranchers say it’s the worst conditions they’ve seen in decades — possibly their lifetimes — and simple survival has become their goal as a dry summer drags on without a raincloud in sight….”

  6. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 25, 2017

    Last August a boy died of anthrax in the remote Yamal Peninsula, and 20 other infected people were treated and survived. Anthrax hadn’t been seen in the region for 75 years, and it’s thought the recent outbreak followed an intense heatwave in Siberia, temperatures reaching over 30C that melted the frozen permafrost.

    More recently, a huge explosion was heard in June in the Yamal Peninsula. Reindeer herders camped nearby saw flames shooting up with pillars of smoke and found a large crater left in the ground.

    Over the past three years, 14 other giant craters have been found in the region, some of them truly massive

  7. Spike

     /  July 25, 2017

    Italian situation reported by BBC twice in last 2 days, rather unusually; they also have a good report in great detail on the darkening of Greenland. Perhaps the media is waking up?

    In Italy:
    60% of farmland under threat
    10 regions prepare natural calamity requests
    Estimated cost to agriculture is €2bn
    Dairy farmers, wine grapes and olive production among the worst hit
    Rome, the capital, faces water rationing

    And I’ve just seen a long term forecast suggesting poor rainfall and high temperatures over the coming months, uncertain as those forecasts always are.

  8. Abel Adamski

     /  July 25, 2017

    Meanwhile the Philistines in Oz set out to wipe out the marine life in a huge marine reserve that provides a safe hatchery and reserve for so many food species

  9. Abel Adamski

     /  July 25, 2017

    From a Papua New Guinea source

    China and India and the EU are having increasing influence in the Pacific, due to Climate Change

    • This is what happens when you lose your moral authority. One of the quickest ways to promote U.S. decline is to fail to support the international response to climate change, while trying to support old and harmful industries at home to the detriment of the new energy industries of the future.

      We saw a similar curtailment of U.S. influence under Bush. But the loss under Trump and the Tillerson non-State department is considerably greater.

  10. Jackie

     /  July 25, 2017

    Strikes me that with every drought these last 20, 30 years, social unrest and revolution followed. Now it’s Turkey, next Italy???

    Meanwhile, I didn’t observe ANY frozen soils in numerous deep pit investigations in various biomes during the last few winters in western PA (Pittsburgh to Erie). Not in the epipedon, or even the top of the subsoil, and I am very concerned. And, given what I saw in eastern Ohio, I’d say the same is occurring there. It used to be difficult digging in winter when I began my career in the late 80s, but now its an entirely different story.

    But on a bright spot, the plants seem to like it, until a late frost takes them out, that is…

    Tell me… Does the IPCC account for temperate soils in all their various projections? Not sure, but I doubt it.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Jackie. Are you a soil biologist or related specialist?

      • Jackie

         /  July 25, 2017

        I am a graduate of both Cornell, class of ’83 and Carnegie Mellon, ’93, and I am a working professional soil scientist in western Pennsylvania. I am also a professional wetland scientist and am certified in nutrient management in PA (recently inactive) who worked with farmers for a several years. I obtained that last certification after I left an international environmental consulting firm where I worked in the ecological services department. I am long time member of the PA Association of Professional Soil Scientists where I am now a Board member. However, I am the first to admit there are far better research scientists in all those various fields, but unlike them, I spend pretty much all my time in the field. I am simply using my own eyes when I voice the opinion that emissions must be cut to zero, and it must be now. I add my voice not as a scientist, but as a concerned parent of two biological children and three adopted children, now all adults. Thank you for asking, and best of luck to you.

  11. Jackie

     /  July 25, 2017

    Oh, and now that I think about it, it goes further back that just a couple of years… I recall that none of the wetlands froze in 2011 in my region, even the north facing ones, as evidenced by skunk cabbage growing all winter. And when I pointed this out to my colleagues, and expressed my concerns about the company’s expanding role in fossil fuel development, well, I’m sure you can figure out what happened from there.

    • Actually, I’d like to hear more about this. If you’d be willing to elaborate on your personal experience, it might be helpful for the rest of us.

      • Jackie

         /  July 25, 2017

        I first became aware of climate change in an academic setting in 1979 as an underclassman, and fully understood the seriousness of the implications at that time. Funny thing is, all of us girls did, but all the guys totally discounted Dr. Revelle’s paper in spite of it being nearly 20 years old. (ALL of them!) However in spite of this education, I assumed for decades that since our government knew of the danger, surely action was being taken behind the scenes, in spite of what I was seeing in the newspapers. Meanwhile, I worked at a county health department followed by an engineering firm before starting my own small consulting business dealing with soils and wetlands….

        In 2006, after an outdoor BBQ (on a very warm November day) with an assistant to the Dean at the Katz School at Pitt, the professor ask me about the reversibility of climate change. I thought for a moment and said, “sure… if we reduce our emissions, I think it would return to what it was… with time… Why do you ask?” He explained that he became aware of a group of government scientists that had revolted against management because of political inaction on emissions and their recent findings that climate change was irreversible…. (His specialty was Organization Management.) I said “Wow… if this was indeed the case, both the revolt and the science should be on the front page of every major newspaper in the world!” I explained that I hadn’t seen anything in any of the journals I received from the SSSA, and so I would tend to discount their claims as well. He nodded, seemed relieved, and we went on to other subjects.

        A few months later, in mid-January, 2007, while working outdoors at my home in New Wilmington, PA, I looked down to see that pansies along the north facing side of the house were blooming. Oh my I thought… I better look into what that Professor said… And so my 4 to 5 year personal research project began. I took every on-line course I could find at that time, read countless books on the subject, anything I could get my hands on. Needless to say, the professor was right, and things were much, much more serious than what even I suspected.

        Realizing that inaction was largely a political problem, I threw myself into Obama’s 08 campaign, and was quite pleased when he won. Even though I suspected that adding ever more fossil fuels to the mix wasn’t a good idea, I thought that the scientists that developed his energy plan must surely know more than I. A couple of years passed, we relocated to Beaver County for my husbands new job, and I took a job as a scientist with an environmental consulting firm outside Pittsburgh. On day two, I was in the field, and saw the board swath of mature forest that was to be cleared for a pipeline. I became ill and threw up at the scale of what I was seeing, knowing my actions would contribute to the loss of this valuable carbon sink. But, I continued on, working 50, 60 hours a week, in spite of what I saw, trying to get them caught up with a backlog of work. Finally, over Thanksgiving, I decided to take a day off and relax. Since I like to watch science lectures, I googled ‘fracking lecture’. Up popped Drs. Ingraphia’s (sp?) and Howrath’s lecture on fracking. As I watched, the pit in my stomach got bigger and bigger. I think that lecture stripped the final scab off my denial, and I realized that in spite of all my good intentions, I was an enabler to the fossil fuel industry rather than a protector of the environment and a sensible government policy. Things worsened for me at the firm, and in spite of all the insults, the threats, the screaming fits by my climate denying boss, I am proud to say I lasted another 6 months, trying to make change at the company before resigning. I also know that I am now black-balled and work at a tiny fraction of what I once earned. With kids in college, it was a difficult time, and still is, but I am proud and grateful to my husband for standing by my side for all of this.

        And I hope as things accelerate, I just hope that my kids understood I tried, and yes, I am very very sorry for not being able to do more.

        Thank you.

        Jacalyn Wolf Heinl, PWS, PAPCSS, NMS

        • You voted for the right president. We would have been far worse off than we are now if we’d have had a republican in office during Obama’s 8 years. We can certainly thank him and the dems/progressives for much of the progress made in renewables during that time here in the U.S. And his moves on the Clean Power Plan and Paris were in the right direction, if not far enough for any of those of us who see ourselves as climate hawks.

          As for fracking — thank you for opposing it. And we should absolutely continue to do so.

          At this point, it’s pretty open economic conflict between fossil fuels and the alternatives. A conflict we need to win.

        • +1 Thank you for sharing this story , Must have been a difficult time indeed . My uncle worked as a safety guy ,gave seminars to workers at facilities all over the U S A and Canada. He knew of C C but stayed at it …..I think he has some guilt . At least you don’t have that hanging on you.. Great read !!

        • Thanks for everything you did and are doing now, Jackie. Must have been incredibly difficult. My sympathies.

        • John McCormick

           /  July 25, 2017

          Jacalyn, I read your story and it moved me to want everyone to share your short journey.

          I see a movie script in those paragraphs you shared. It can be a collaborative here on Robert’s blog. A collective of thinkers and writers can piece together a draft screen play. I wrote one in three weeks so it is not difficult.

        • Mark in OZ

           /  July 26, 2017

          Is a compelling and real life journey where examined principles become tested yet remain steadfast. There is an inspirational aspect as many will face analogous ‘choices’ and the power structure is well aware of the difficulty in challenging the status quo.

          Reading your words made me again realize that the list of those truly committed to the ‘renewable’ fight is much longer than most appreciate or recognize as the power elite who control the FF’s seem to be everywhere and its easy to forget that those opposed to the FF industries are gaining momentum.

          Resolve, as you have demonstrated, will be noticed and respected by others, and the power of that cannot be over-estimated. I’d suggest that some of the former colleagues are looking inward; examining and reviewing their principles, too. And in our own ways, as sympathetic beings aligned for a common objective,we are also proud of you!

      • Jackie

         /  July 26, 2017

        John McCormick, It would be interesting to discuss further. I can detail those experiences and what has happened since. I am not looking for fame, but if I can help others get through similar experiences, or open the eyes of others, I would be happy to contribute. I believe I am the only with that name in the world, oddly enough, so google me. Or, my info is available on the Registry on the PA Professional Soil Scientist Assoc. website. Use the cell number please. Jacalyn Heinl

  12. wili

     /  July 25, 2017

    “Parts of Las Vegas got about 9 months worth of rainfall this morning (3″). Flash flooding ongoing in the driest big city in the country.”

  13. PlazaRed

     /  July 25, 2017

    Foot note.
    Fires are still raging in Portugal in a big way, also in, French Corsica, and parts of Spain.
    The weather here has dried out again now and the 3 inch/ 8cms hailstones have passed and melted, leaving only masses of memories of destruction and endless claims for costs of repairs. The crops are beyond repair of course.
    Thinking about it? It’s only the end of July and the weather will get hotter and more inclined towards thunder storms over the next 2 months or more.
    I’ll keep my eye out for anything unusual and interesting.
    The rains nearly always come here in about October but we have had very little rain over the last 4 winters.Its not a total drought situation but the amount of rainfall over the winters is generally much reduced from normal and thats the big problem.
    I’m going to the Spanish Almeria desert tomorrow to check out things there. No Internet connection there, which is a shame but I’ll keep and eye out for anything worth reporting in later about.
    About 500 million people live in and around the European area, it’s the worlds largest economy. Some days about 2000 refugees a day try and cross the Mediterranian sea to get here. Things are very bad where the refugees come from!

  14. Climate change poses threat to European electricity production. July 25, 2017. U. of Leiden

    The vulnerability of the European electricity sector to changes in water resources is set to worsen by 2030 as a consequence of climate change, conclude researchers.

    Thermoelectric power stations — including coal, gas, and nuclear plants — use significant amounts of fresh water for cooling purposes. A large gas power station can use an Olympic-sized swimming pool of water per minute. If water is not available, or if it is too warm, power stations have to reduce electricity production, or cease production completely.


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