Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



CLIMATE SCIENCE
Spain, Portugal struggle with extreme drought
By Adrien VICENTE
Madrid (AFP) Nov 21, 2017


Spain and Portugal are grappling with a devastating drought which has left rivers nearly dry, sparked deadly wildfires and devastated crops -- and experts warn that prolonged dry spells will become more frequent.

The national weather office says 94 percent of Portugal is enduring what it classifies as an "extreme" drought.

"The country has never experienced a drought like this in the sense that it worsened significantly in October, a time of the year when the situation normally improves," a climatologist with the weather office, Fatima Espirito Santo, told AFP.

Two-thirds of Spain has received considerably less rain during the last three years than it normally does.

"It's a ruinous situation," said Jose Ramon Gonzalez, a small rancher in Spain's normally rainy northwestern region of Galicia.

Due to the scarcity of grass, Gonzalez was forced to spend thousands of euros to buy fodder for his cattle in July, four months earlier than normal.

"There are rivers, springs, which neither I, at the age of 45, nor my parents, nor my grandparents, have seen dry which have dried up," he said.

About 1.38 million hectares (3.4 million acres) of grains, sunflowers and olive trees have been affected by drought or frost in Spain as of the end of October, according to Spanish farming insurance agency Agroseguro.

It has dished out more than 200 million euros ($236 million) in compensation this year.

"You feel helpless like when you are sick, you can't do anything. This sickness is called drought," said Vicente Ortiz, a farmer and rancher in Spain's central Castilla-La Mancha region, whose endless plain is depicted in "Don Quixote", the famous work by Miguel de Cervantes.

Ortiz said his grain harvest has plunged 70 percent from last year and he expects to harvest half as many olives.

The situation is just as dire for farmers across the border in neighbouring Portugal.

"All crops are suffering from this lack of water in our region, from olives to grains and grapes," said Fremelinda Carvalho, the president of the association of farmers on Portalegre in central Portugal.

The dry fields and forests have fuelled wildfires, which killed 109 people this year in Portugal and five in Galicia, many dying in their cars as they tried to flee the flames.

- Water conflicts -

Water reservoirs are at abnormally low levels.

In Portugal 28 of the country's water reservoirs in October were at less than 40 percent of their storage capacity.

This weekend about a hundred fire trucks began transporting water from one dam in northern Portugal to another that is running dry and supplies water to Viseu, a city of around 100,000 residents.

In Spain the water reservoirs along the Tagus River, which empty into the Atlantic near Lisbon, were as of Monday at just 39.3 percent of their capacity.

The levels were even lower in the Douro River further north and the Segura River, which is used to irrigate crops in southeastern Spain.

Spain's largest power company, Iberdrola, saw its hydroelectric power production plunge 58 percent during the first nine months of the year, compared to the same period last year, pushing up electricity prices.

The drought is also fuelling conflicts among regions over the use of water.

One source of tension is a massive aqueduct built in the 1960s during the Spanish dictatorship of Francisco Franco to siphon off water from the Tagus River to the smaller Segura River.

The Tagus River "can not support" this aqueduct, said Antonio Luengo, head of the agency that regulates water in Spain's Castilla-La Mancha region.

The water diverted from the Tagus had been used to massively develop fruit and vegetable farms in southeastern Spain and now water from the Mediterranean must be desalinated to support these crops, he said.

- Climate risks -

Experts warn that droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in the region.

"Spain has since 1980 shown signs of climate change, which have increased since 2000," said Jorge Olcina, who heads the University of Alicante's climate institute.

The country's climate "tends to have more subtropical characteristics. Higher temperatures and rarer and more intense rains. So climate-related risks -- heatwaves and rain and droughts and floods, will increase in the coming decades," he added.

Spain has managed water "very badly", said Julio Barea, spokesman for the Spanish branch of Greenpeace.

He cited as examples the use of water to irrigate trees that do not normally need much water, such as olive and almond trees, and the planting of water-intensive crops that are not suited to Spain's Mediterranean climate.

Both governments have promised financial aid to farmers, who still anxiously wait for rain.

"We are constantly looking at the sky," said Ortiz, the rancher in Castilla-La Mancha.

av/ds/pmr/pvh

IBERDROLA

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Spain, Portugal struggle with extreme drought
Madrid (AFP) Nov 21, 2017
Spain and Portugal are grappling with a devastating drought which has left rivers nearly dry, sparked deadly wildfires and devastated crops - and experts warn that prolonged dry spells will become more frequent. Nearly all of Portugal has suffered extreme drought conditions during the last six months, which has not happened since 2005. A majority of Spain has also received considerably less ... read more

Related Links
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

CLIMATE SCIENCE
New motion sensors major step towards cheaper wearable technology

Can a magnetic sail slow down an interstellar probe

SSL Selected to Conduct Power and Propulsion Study for NASA's Deep Space Gateway Concept

MDA Selects AdaCore's GNAT Pro Assurance Development Platform for ISS Software

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Aerojet Rocketdyne supports ULA Delta II launch of JPSS-1

Old Rivals India, China Nurture New Rivalry in Satellite Launch Business

NASA launches next-generation weather satellite

SpaceX postpones launch of secretive Zuma mission

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Winds Blow Dust off the Solar Panels Improving Energy Levels

Recurring Martian Streaks: Flowing Sand, Not Water?

From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020

NASA Selects Instrument for Future International Mission to Martian Moons

CLIMATE SCIENCE
China plans for nuclear-powered interplanetary capacity by 2040

China plans first sea based launch by 2018

China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

Space will see Communist loyalty: Chinese astronaut

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Space Launch plans UK industry tour

Astronaut meets volcano

European Space Week starts in Estonia

New Chinese sat comms company awaits approval

CLIMATE SCIENCE
New way to write magnetic info could pave the way for hardware neural networks

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

Metal membranes in construction: From Russia with love

Spin current from heat: New material increases efficiency

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Lava or Not, Exoplanet 55 Cancri e Likely to have Atmosphere

Images of strange solar system visitor peel away some of the mystery

Familiar-Looking Messenger from Another Solar System

Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Pluto's hydrocarbon haze keeps dwarf planet colder than expected

Jupiter's Stunning Southern Hemisphere

Watching Jupiter's multiple pulsating X-ray Aurora

Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement