Watch Europe Dry up from Space in this Shocking Timelapse
Satellite images have revealed the shocking impact of droughts across Europe in July and August.
Huge areas of lush green land turned sandy brown as extreme weather conditions savaged the continent.
The European Union’s Copernicus Program captured the mosaic of images through their constellation of Earth-observing Sentinel satellites.
Josef Aschbacher, European Space Agency (ESA) Director General, noted that ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites measured “extreme” land surface temperatures exceeding 45°C in Britain, 50°C in France and 60°C in Spain.
“Today, we are very concerned about the energy crisis, and rightly so. But this crisis is very small compared to the impact of climate change, which is of a much bigger magnitude and really has to be tackled extremely fast,” he commented.
Alongside the timelapse, Copernicus EU tweeted, “In 2022, #drought has affected the whole of Europe.”
Reports have dubbed this drought Europe’s worst in 500 years. The extremely hot and dry conditions increased the risk of forest fires, while water levels in European rivers dropped so low that they were closed to traffic. Water levels dropped to such extremes in Spain that a previously submerged complex of Roman ruins became visible, along with a church submerged underwater by Spanish dictator General Franco. The Global Drought Observatory revealed that 47% of Europe was under drought and weather warnings in August.
Agriculture was hit particularly hard by these historic heatwaves and drought. Lack of precipitation led to widespread stress on crops, particularly across Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Hungary.
The space sector – in particular the Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) sector – played a vital role in documenting this historic weather and raising awareness of its impact.
Climate monitoring and early warning rely heavily on the space industry. Space-related technologies and information allow us to assess specific areas’ exposure to climate change, adjusting adaptation and mitigation strategies accordingly. Alongside this, Earth observation allows us to predict and monitor natural disasters, as well as gain accurate weather forecasts.
As the climate crisis rages on, the space sector will be instrumental in our shared mission to protect global communities and minimise the impact of climate change.