Significant crop damage across Europe

  • Forecast temperature anomalies for the next week. Photo credit: MeteoGroup.

  • Significant crop damage across Europe
    06.05.2017 18:05

    Many countries across Europe are still counting the damage caused to the crops by sharp frost occurred in the past three weeks. Terrible losses have been reported across England, France, Spain and Italy for instance, especially concerning vineyards.

    In Italy, the frost occurred during the last 18th and 19th of April destroyed many vineyards across central and northern areas. Some farmers have completely lost the next harvest and they struggle to remember such a drop in the expected yield. Besides the vineyards, also other kind of fruits and vegetables have been halved by the cold weather, like peaches, pears, apples, strawberries, cherries and apricots.

    A few days after, Spain too recorded temperatures well below freezing during the night, with -7C in places across the northern half of the country. This caused the death of vineyards and other plants like tomatoes, potatoes and beetroots with terrible losses.

    A similar situation occurred here in UK and over France. The minimum temperatures dropped to -3C/-5C overnight. Where possible, farmers tried to keep the temperature higher with candles and lightning fires in buckets to prevent the frost, but where the temperature went well below freezing this technique wasn’t enough.

    However, cold spells from the north as we experienced in the last three weeks are not a rarity for this time of year, so why all these losses? The real cause of the problems is the high temperatures that more and more frequently are recorded during the last part of winter and springtime. These early starts of spring allow the nature to reawaken too early, making it more vulnerable to late cold spells like those occurred recently.  

    Outlook over the next week

    In the past few days the temperature has recovered across the UK and Europe, preventing the risk of other nights with widespread frost. However, looking at the current condition of the atmosphere, a new cold spell from the Arctic is likely to push southwards across central and eastern Europe during this week. Temperatures are likely to drop again up to 10C below the average over Scandinavia, Baltic countries and Eastern parts of Europe, renewing the chance of frost during the night in these areas.

    In the meantime, over the UK and western parts of Europe, westerly winds are expected to rise the temperatures and push spells of rain from the Atlantic by the middle of the week, avoiding any other widespread frosty night.  

    By: Alessio Martini