Drought worsens in April; almost 90% of territory affected

  • Lusa
  • 10 May 2023

In one month, the area in drought in mainland Portugal almost doubled compared to March, when it was 48%.

The meteorological drought worsened in mainland Portugal in April, with 89% of mainland territory in drought, 34% of which in severe and extreme drought, according to IPMA.

In one month, the area in drought in mainland Portugal almost doubled compared to March, when it was 48%.

According to the latest climatological bulletin of the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), at the end of April, there was a significant increase in the area and intensity of meteorological drought, highlighting the Northeast region in the moderate drought class and in the southern region the districts of Setúbal, Évora, Beja and Faro in the severe to extreme drought classes.

At the end of last month, 33.2% of the territory was in moderate drought, 22% in weak drought, 19.9% in severe drought, 14.1% in extreme drought and 10.8% normal.

In April last year, the entire territory of mainland Portugal was in a drought situation, most of it in moderate drought (87.2%).

The institute classifies the meteorological index of drought into nine classes, ranging from “extreme rainfall” to “extreme drought”.

According to the IPMA, there are four types of drought: meteorological, agricultural, hydrological and socioeconomic.

Data from the bulletin indicate that in the month of April, the total precipitation (18.2 millimetres) was much lower than the average value (23%) and was the 3rd driest April since 1931.

Regarding the percentage of water in the soil, the institute says there was a very significant decrease in the percentage throughout the territory.

The regions of Nordeste Transmontano, Tagus Valley, Baixo Alentejo and Algarve recorded values of percentage of water in the soil below 10%.

The IPMA also says in the bulletin that the month of April was classified as very hot in terms of air temperature and extremely dry in terms of precipitation.

April was the 4th warmest April since 1931 (the warmest was in 1945), with three heat waves recorded in mainland Portugal, affecting the regions of the North and Centre interior, Tagus Valley, Alentejo and Eastern Algarve.