In a large area, this year is expected to be the most severe drought in the last 50 years in Hungary, and the number of severe drought years may continue to increase until the end of the century, wrote the specialist portal Másfélfok – Climate change in general terms in its article on Friday.
The situation in the vicinity of Kecskemét and Nyíregyháza is already much worse than in the most extreme drought year of 2003, they added.
In their joint analysis, climate researcher Péter Szabó and meteorologist Rita Pongrácz drew attention to the fact that the number of severe drought periods has shown an increasing trend since 1990. Nationally, it can be seen that it basically rains less often, but more, and in parallel, the number of dry days is also increasing.
As explained: since 1971, the biggest drought on a national average was in 2003. This year, in the middle of the country, in Kecskemét, until July 24th, 122 of the 146 days that had passed were dry, which slightly surpasses the worst the year of 2003, calculated for the entire spring-summer half-year. However, in the east, near Nyíregyháza, for example, the situation is even worse, since this year, counting the 129 dry days that have occurred there so far, we will surpass even the most extreme year of 2003.
They wrote that in the last 50 years, on a national average, the probability that there are more and more drought years has not increased, but the probability that when there is a drought, it is more and more severe, has increased significantly, as the amount of dry days in spring and summer has increased.
This change in the southern half of the country can clearly be attributed to the summer growth, they wrote.
In their analysis, the experts examined the ripening phase of vegetable crops and the summer drought, which adversely affects crop yields. Analyzing the last 50 years from the database of the National Meteorological Service, they pointed out that while the semi-annual precipitation amount (spring and summer combined) decreased slightly in the southwest and in the region bordering Subcarpathia, it clearly increased in the north-central part of the country between 1971 and 2020. Moreover – as written – this increase is very significant and reaches 30-60 millimeters in a large area. At the same time, the number of dry days in the two seasons – with the exception of smaller districts – also increased.
They wrote, according to the “optimistic” scenario: that with a definite reduction in emissions, there is a chance for fewer dry periods than in the past. However, according to the pessimistic vision, further growth is also likely, and this is expected to be even stronger, especially towards the east.
In order to adapt to the expected changes, in the future, the excess precipitation of the wettest years should be stored to make up for the deficits of the severe drought years and to avoid disasters caused by extreme drought, they said.
From the point of view of natural vegetation and agricultural production, as well as, consequently, food security, it is important that severe droughts in spring and summer do not become more frequent in Hungary – emphasized the experts, adding: “to this, the international community, and Hungary as well, must drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and we must fundamentally rethink our water management, prioritizing water retention”.
Photo: the dried-up Lake Vekeri.