The rise in temperature and decrease in moisture in Europe is leading to lower crop yields and an increased risk of wildfires.
In dry air, we may feel cooler on a hot day compared to humid conditions due to the evaporation of our sweat. As long as we stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, we should be comfortable.
Hot and arid air poses a significant issue for plants and soil. This phenomenon is known as vapour pressure deficit, or VPD, according to scientists. The dry air removes essential water from plants and trees, causing them to struggle to grow. Additionally, the ground becomes parched and unable to support vegetation. This often leads to lower crop yields, dried-out plants, and an increased chance of wildfires. The most effective solution is to use irrigation to keep crops thriving.
A group of 67 scientists examined four centuries’ worth of tree ring information from Europe and determined that the issue of dry air has significantly worsened in this century. The rise in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels has led to more frequent and severe instances of vapor pressure deficit (VPD), especially in the lowlands of central Europe, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. The years 2003, 2015, and 2018 saw the most extreme cases.
Currently, northern Europe has experienced the lowest impact from VPD due to its cooler air which can hold less water. However, it is predicted that this issue will worsen over time.