Drought in Europe, soil moisture below average: the comparison between 2022 and 2023. THE PHOTO

After a particularly low rainfall winter and the second warmest on record, soil moisture is below average across much of southwestern Europe, with northern Italy among the hardest hit areas, along with France, Spain and Great Britain. Brittany. This is what emerges from the maps created thanks to the data collected by the Smos satellite (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity), developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the analysis of ocean salinity and soil humidity.


The images compare the situation recorded in the first three months of 2022 and that of this year. The aqua green color indicates the presence of humidity, the brown the dryness of the soil. In many areas of Western Europe the soil humidity is 4% lower than the average, while in some areas of Spain and Turkey it is even as low as 8%.

The Smos satellite (launched in 2009) makes it possible to obtain a global map of soil moisture every three days, with an accuracy of 4% at a spatial resolution of about 50 km. “It’s like detecting a teaspoon of water mixed in a handful of soil”, explain the ESA experts.