Drought in France and its consequences 08/11/2022 in pictures

Dry soil and consequences for building

The soil is particularly dry due to the lack of permanent and widespread rainfall. As a result, Almost all of France observes much lower than normal soil moisture indices This is August 2022, an almost unprecedented situation since the measures began

Deviation from mean soil moisture index in France on August 1, 2022 – Meteo France

This dryness of the soil is visible in many places on the surface where the ground is often cracked and very fragile, testifying to the obvious lack of water in our terrain.

As of early August 2022, the shores of Lake Montbelle, Ariz., have dried up – Friedrich Scheiber / Hans Lucas / AFP

In addition to accurately showing the current situation, this specially identified soil drought Also results in clay soils. During droughts, this type of soil shrinks and occurs regularly Cracks appear on the buildings on which they are built.

This summer of 2022 cracks in a building built on clay soil in Vendee – Western France

Although this phenomenon is not usually very widespread, Many cases were observed across the country this summer, testifying to the exceptional degree of drought we are currently experiencing. A situation that can be very problematic until the trend is reversed, The cracks continue to expand slowly until the next effective rain.

Cracked houses in Murthe-et-Moselle on August 1, 2022 and the results of these cracks – Eric Molodtzoff / France Television

This phenomenon is not new but shows itself Especially widespread this year. Clay shrinkage/swelling risk, whether low, medium or high, concerns more than 60% of the French region and the exceptional drought in the country this year could have significant consequences on many constructions here at the end of summer.

Extent and extent of clay compaction/swelling hazards in France – Statistics.developpement-durable.gouv.fr

Plants that are suffering from lack of water

As explained in the previous article, Plants suffer from weeks of absence or low rainfall With visible consequences for the vast majority of France.

At the beginning of August 2022, the heat and lack of water in the Rhône valley dried up the vegetation – via Twitter @SergeZaka

Be it leafy trees, small shrubs or even less trees, the consequences of this exceptional drought are visible in many areas where the vegetation dries up and therefore sometimes takes on autumn colors in the middle of the month.

The downy oak forest near Cahors was declining at the end of last July – via Twitter @anaxvp

Vegetation loss is more visible in our rural areas where vegetation is more widespread but can also be seen in our cities Large trees gradually lose their leaves Like the middle of autumn.

By the end of July 2022, the plane tree alley in Castres, Tarn gradually loses its leaves. – via Twitter @DessalleF

There are many water restrictions going on in our countryAgriculture also suffers greatly from this drought.

Between June and August, 80% of French water consumption goes to agricultural needsHowever, water restrictions concern almost all of France and farmers are no exception. In the distressed section, These same farmers can no longer irrigate their fields resulting in severe impact on agricultural production.

Water-logged corn fields near Annecy (74) at the end of July 2022 – via Twitter @Mekkiceh

Many French farmers are already lamenting heavy production losses, particularly in cereals, and are also worried about fruit and vegetable crops which have struggled to grow and develop properly in recent weeks.

Drought may therefore have significant consequences for agriculture this year A yield that sometimes looks much lower than normalwhich may also affect prices and therefore increase inflation.

Lots of forest fires

Apart from the consequences for agriculture, Vegetation dryness also increases fire risk. These are actually much higher this year, with a much higher burnt surface in France than the 2006-2021 average.

Evolution of areas burned in France since January 1, 2022 – EFFIS

The surface is really close By mid-August 50,000 hectares of vegetation had gone up in smoke, which has not been observed for many years and improvements in firefighting and prevention techniques. If the southern regions of France, and especially the southeastern regions, are generally the most affected, fierce fires are also forming in the north of the country. In July, the Monts d’Arry region of Brittany, for example, suffered more than had already been burned. 1500 hectares of vegetation.

Since the beginning of August, several large fires have occurred in the Pays-de-la-Loire or even in the Jura. In Maine-et-Loire, the Baugé-en-Anjou fire has already been covered 1400 hectares from August 8 And still not fixed today, an unusual case for this A region very prone to large-scale fires.

Aerial view of the Baugé-en-Anjou fire front on August 9 – SDIS 49

In Jura, many fires have broken out in recent days, Hundreds of hectares of vegetation are burning. One of them threatened Menwili village this afternoon 200 residents had to be evacuatedAgain a very unusual occurrence for the sector.

The fire is approaching the village of Menuille (39) on August 11, 2022 – via Twitter @Piflet10

However, the fires have been the most destructive since the start of the summer in the Gironde. With 20,000 hectares already up in smoke in the department in July, a new devastating fire broke out near Hostence and has already covered 6,000 hectares of forest, destroyed 16 homes and displaced more than 10,000 people.

Aerial view of the 3rd violent fire of the summer in the Gironde on August 9 – Via Firefighters of France

Especially the water level is low

A direct consequence of drought is water scarcity. There has been really little rain in recent months and even almost absent from early July in France In a large majority of the country the rivers show themselves to be particularly low.

Serine, one of the Yonne’s main rivers, is almost dry by mid-August – via Twitter @meteo_89

Even France’s most important rivers are suffering from this drought. The Loire, for example, observes one of the lowest flows ever recorded in the river.

Lows are unusually low in the lower-Atlantic in early August 2022 – West France / Franck Dubray

This lack of water is also observed in many reservoirs. One of the most obvious examples is indeed visible in the Serre-Ponçon lake in the Hautes-Alpes (the largest artificial lake in France) where the lack of winter snowfall and low rainfall since the beginning of the year has resulted in continuous snowfall. And a significant drop in lake levels this summer.

Its level is More than 10 meters lower than normal And the decline continues 15 to 20 cm per day on averagee

View from above of Serre-Ponçon lake’s unusually low level and its level evolution – Via Twitter @Firmin76 and @La_Meteo_du_13

If the lack of water is particularly visible on the surface, it is present in depth with the reduction of groundwater levels throughout France and A large northern and eastern half of the country as well as low to very low levels in the southwest, sometimes very low in the southeast.

Groundwater status in France on August 1, 2022 – BRGM

As a result, water use restrictions concern almost the entire region Many departments are in crisis. Some sectors are even observing Total shortage of running water.

Water restrictions in France until August 11, 2022 – Propluvia

A drought visible from space

While most of the consequences of this exceptional drought are visible close to the ground, the drought can also be seen from space, as evidenced by a satellite view of France on August 9 compared to mid-August 2021. We can easily notice that the vegetation is much drier than last year at almost the same date, even if it is important to mention that the summer of 2021 was very unstable and relatively cool.

Satellite view of France between August 2022 and August 2021 – NASA

We can also notice a terrible fire in France in recent days in previous satellite images of the department of Maine-et-Loire.

Yet the most impressive remains over several days in the Gironde Between the Atlantic and Occitania more than a few hundred kilometers of smoke iceAnother consequence of this drought is visible from space.


Smoke volume from the Hostence fire in the Gironde on 10 August – Copernicus

Another satellite view that marks this improved state of drought is the view from above the aforementioned Serre-Ponkone Lake between late May and last July. A layer has fallen very rapidly and shows itself to be extremely low (almost dry at the outlet), even at the height of the summer season.

Evolution of water level upstream of Lake Serre-Ponkone between May 29 and July 23, 2022 – Copernicus

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