Europe’s Drought Could Have a Long Afterlife

By Stephen Mihm
The Washington Post
August 22, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Europe has been burning. As a brutal drought and record-breaking heat gripped the continent this summer, crops withered and forest fires raged. Thunderstorms have been cooling things off but are not expected to end the drought. …The apocalyptic weather is not without precedent, as the reemergence of centuries-old “hunger stones” in the continent’s river beds attest. …Historical episodes of meteorological mayhem have sown chaos, fueling everything from social unrest to pandemics. Consider the drought that hit central Europe in AD 69. …”What was arguably the worst “megadrought” of the past millennium played out the following century in the summer of 1540. Rivers, springs and wells dried up. …One French chronicler noted that throughout the continent, forest fires erupted, much as they have now. A Swiss account from late July 1540 reported that it was “unbearably hot [with] everybody complaining of water shortages. Forests were burning everywhere around.”

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