Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, where Spain has been hit by severe drought and an unusually early heat wave.
“Since the start of the hydrological year, on October 1, 2022, Spain received 28 percent less rain than expected by mid-May 2023, according to Spain’s meteorological agency,” says NASA. “The drought dried up reservoirs, parched olive groves, and led to water restrictions across the country.”
The image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, revealing that what was once green vegetation has now turned brown.
According to Copernicus Climate Change Services, soil moisture across all of Europe in 2022 was the second lowest in the past 50 years.
“Unseasonable heat exacerbated the prolonged drought. On April 26, hot air from North Africa swept over southern Spain and pushed the temperature at the Córdoba airport to 38.8°C (101.8°F), the highest April temperature recorded in continental Spain,” explains NASA.
The lack of water is catastrophic for farmers in the region. The Associated Press reports that Spain’s long-term drought is causing “irreversible losses” to more than 3.5 million hectares of crops.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory