Climate change has been positively identified as the key reason that Europe has been experiencing severe droughts in recent years. Research has shown that in the last thirty years the percentage of land affected by drought has doubled.
The research was presented by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). In the early 1970s, only 10-15 percent of land around the world experienced very dry conditions. By 2002, the figure had risen to 30 percent. The report looked at the Palmer Drought Severity Index from 1948 to 2002, which is correlated with soil moisture content.
Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa all showed increasingly dry soils, while parts of the United States, Argentina, Scandinavia and western Australia are moistening. The NCAR findings also confirmed the European Environmental Agency's report that Europe's temperature has risen faster than the global average, being 0.25°C above that of the rest of the world. 2003 was recorded as being the hottest summer in Europe for the last 500 years, and climate specialists are warning that it may just have been a sample of what the future holds.
Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Jan Kowalzig said, "climate change is becoming the largest threat to our planet" and called on European countries to cut emissions by 60-80%.