CLIMATE CHANGE: It is the longest meteorological drought ever recorded, according to Meteo France
French soils are dying of thirst. Metropolitan France did not experience real rain for thirty-two days, the longest meteorological drought ever recorded, which should however be interrupted this Wednesday with the return of some precipitation, we learned from Meteo France.
From January 21 to February 21, the aggregate rainfall total on the metropolis was less than 1 mm every day, “the longest series since the start of measurements in 1959”, indicated the public body. An episode that is all the more worrying as it occurs in winter, a crucial recharge period for groundwater, and in a context of chronic rainfall deficit since August 2021.
An exceptionally dry month of February
This consecutive series now exceeds that of the year 2020, which occurred for thirty-one days between March 17 and April 16, in the midst of the first confinement of Covid-19. The passage on Wednesday of a low rainfall area, arriving from the west of the country, should however put an end to it, without however fueling optimism: “the month of February 2023 should end with a rainfall deficit of more than 50%, thus becoming one of the driest February months ever recorded”, has already forecast Météo-France.
This record is part of a long-term meteorological drought, since “since August 2021, all months have been lacking in rain with the exception of December 2021, June 2022 and September 2022”, according to Météo-France. “In addition to the lack of rain, it has been warmer than normal in France for twelve months in a row”, and “February could be the thirteenth of this unprecedented series” since the first reliable data from 1947, adds the forecast service national.
France in a “state of alert”
“France is on alert,” acknowledged the Minister of Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu on Franceinfo on Wednesday, on the front line to face the tensions already noticeable on the use of water. “We are about 2 months behind in terms of filling” groundwater, added the minister, who will bring together prefects on Monday to “take restrictive measures that are “soft” from March to avoid finding themselves in catastrophic arbitration situations” as summer approaches.
Departments are already suffering: the Pyrénées-Orientales on drought alert continuously since June and the majority of the Var, in turn, placed on drought alert on Friday.