Research and Application News
Hot and dry - but why?
05 May 2014
Using satellite data, scientists are improving their understanding of the relationship between droughts and heatwaves in order to forecast hot spells better in the future.
Extreme weather events like heatwaves and droughts are predicted to intensify as a consequence of climate change. In recent history, local temperature records in Europe have been broken through two events referred to as mega-heatwaves: the 2003 Western European event and the 2010 Russian event.
During these two heatwaves, the affected areas experienced not only high temperatures, but concurrent droughts.
A recent study is shedding new light on the interaction between atmospheric conditions and soil moisture during heatwaves: dry conditions are a necessary ingredient for mega-heatwaves to occur.
Source: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: AP Photo/Keystone, S. Campardo - Dry soil