14 Jun 2011:
Severe Drought in Europe
Threatens Crops and Nuclear Power Output
One of Europe’s most severe droughts in a century is threatening crop production, shrinking some rivers to near-record low levels, and raising the specter that France may experience blackouts as some river-cooled nuclear power plants may be forced to shut down
. In France, the warmest and driest spring in half a century may significantly slash wheat yields. In addition, with 44 of France’s 58 nuclear reactors cooled by river water, officials are closely monitoring whether power production may have to be reduced, since sending overheated water from the plants back into low, warm rivers could cause major ecological problems. In Germany, where spring water levels in many rivers are the lowest they’ve been in a century, yields of crops such as rapeseed oil are expected to drop by 20 percent. And England’s southeast, the country’s breadbasket, is experiencing a severe drought, while many other parts of the UK are on the brink of drought. Overall, rainfall across Europe this year is only 40 to 80 percent of the average precipitation from 1951 to 2000.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.