May heat: a “ridge”, not a “dome”

This week of May 2022 is of summer. Temperatures will exceed 30 °C almost everywhere in the region, with the exception of the coasts of the Channel and the Mediterranean rim, warns Meteo-France. This event is extraordinary in its speed, its duration and its extent, but it is not the first time it has been observed. ,At the beginning of the 20th century, extraordinary heat was recorded in 1922, 1945Moderates Olivier Proust, prophet in Mateo-France. So this blocking situation is not unprecedented, but it is not a “heat dome” as experienced in Canada or Greece in 2021, but a “ridge” that extends from the Maghreb to Scandinavia,

The weather conditions are similar to that of the heat dome. Currently, a powerful high-altitude anticyclone is an eclipse of heat uplift from the Maghreb in favor of a depression located off the coast of Ireland. Thus the anticyclone takes the form of the letter Omega. ,The heat builds up, accumulates in height and exerts pressure on the first layers of the atmosphere, causing a sharp rise in temperature.“, summarizes Olivier Proust. If forecasters prefer to talk about the “ridge”, it is because the heat accumulation reaches much lower altitudes than the “dome”, where the temperature in Canada in 2021 and occurs in the Maghreb and Greece. Can be up to 30 °C at an altitude of 1500 m above sea level and over 45 °C at the surface. The heat record may be broken, it is not possible to say that of May 2022. This month will beat the previous record 2017.

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France faces three types of drought at the same time

In such a situation, the current situation could have become more serious. Météo-France predicts that the “ridge” will begin moving east on Saturday 21 May, but without giving way to a series of depressions that will improve drought conditions. One after one rain may occur on Saturday but there will be no normal and regular rain. In doing so, France is currently facing all three types of drought at the same time. Meteorological drought is defined by a lack of rainfall that has reached 30 to 40% across the region since the beginning of the year. Agricultural drought is based on soil moisture and the degree of hydrological drought, on groundwater conditions.

According to the latest bulletin of the BRGM (Bureau of Geological and Mining Research), which is responsible for monitoring the aquifers, the winter recharge period was short and not very active, so much so that the aquifer began to empty between January and March, i.e. very early in the year. Evacuations are exacerbated by a lack of rainfall, but also because of vegetation growth and evaporation of plants, which have to withstand high temperatures and pump moisture out of the soil. The situation is alarming in the aquifers of the Vendée, Maine and Touraine as well as the Cote d’Azur, Provence and the Southern Drum.

Wheat harvest promising but still dependent on rain

There is concern at the agricultural level. The situation is not yet dire for winter sowing, according to a point made by the Ministry of Agriculture in early May, with grains sown in the fall forming a deep root system able to better resist the drop in soil moisture. had time. Spring sows, on the other hand, are considered particularly fragile because they do not have time to bury their roots deeply. In his final point on the 2022 wheat harvest in France, France Agrimer notes that the current drought is not exceptional at this time and confirms that straw grain development is ahead overall over the past five years. As of May 2, the organization recognized that the yield potential was still promising and higher than in the previous five years. But it should not last. ,Without rain in the next ten days, the grain yield potential could be irreversibly affected, especially for common wheat which is entering a critical growth period. France warned Egrimer. For corn, the organization notes rapid and homogeneous lifting over the area, but irrigation has begun in many areas, threatening the water table and water levels of rivers.

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Grass harvest is also closely monitored as the economic balance of the fields depends on it. The grass has benefited so much from favorable conditions in spring that in many areas the first sowing could be done in late April. But the grasslands will not be able to renew themselves in the absence of water. Again, the fate of the season is at play in the coming weeks.

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