Belgium experiences driest July in 137 years

Belgium experiences driest July in 137 years
Agricultural areas during the long period of drought last summer. Credit: Belga/ Nicolas Maeterlinck

A worrying new record has been recorded for the driest July in recent memory. Barely 5 millimetres of rain was recorded in Brussels this month, compared to the last July's average of 76.9mm, according to Belgian media RTL Info.

In other words, rainfall across Belgium is up to 30 times lower than the same period last year, when exceptional rainfall caused flooding across the country. The last time that such a dry period was recorded in Belgium was in 1885, when just 2.9mm of rain was recorded.

According to the Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute, Belgium is now entering into a new normal of hot summers and drought. The last three consecutive years have been extremely dry.

In comparing average temperatures between 1961-1990 and 1991-2020, the meteorologists can observe an average temperature increase of 1.6°, which experts call “catastrophic.”

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Sébastien Doutre, climatologist at the University of Liège, told RTL Info that global warming will continue to raise average temperatures in Belgium. While the temperatures in Belgium typically peak at 30-35°, this is now rising to 35-40°, with an average temperature of 45°in the not-so-distant future.

According to a recent report published by the European Commission, almost half of the European Union (46%) faces drought warnings or alerts (11%) related to soil moisture deficit and plant stress. The report is calling for a new European approach to drought management in the face of global warming.

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