"Drought is now inevitable, we will have to get used to it. Even rain would not solve the problem now"

Dry rivers starting with the great Po, water rationed in houses, parched fields. But if this is the picture in mid-June, a week before the official start of summer, then what does the “good season” of 2022 have in store? “The forecasts of the European Center for Medium-Term Meteorological Forecasts speak for themselves: we will have temperatures above average and rainfall just below average”, replies Antonello Pasini, climate physicist of the National Research Council.

Drought emergency: the flight of the drone over the completely dried up Po tributary


Doctor Pasini, if the summer rains are just below average, maybe there is hope …

“The problem is not so much the water that will fall on Italy in June, July and August. In reality we are paying for what has happened in recent months, which are the driest since we have recorded this type of data. According to data from the Cnr of Bologna, in Italy the May just passed is the second hottest of the last 220 years, surpassed only by May 2003. And then the medium-term forecasts on rainfall in the Mediterranean area are not very precise. they even use it to predict the progress of malaria. But here the atmospheric circulation is much more complex … “.

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But suppose that the rain arrives and abundant: would it solve the problem that is manifesting itself in these days?

“Unfortunately not. The rain quickly ends up in the sea. And global warming has worsened the situation: the heat accumulated by the sea with the constant presence of African anticyclones evaporates great qualities of water. And so, when the anticyclones withdraw, they do not arrive. the drizzles beneficial for the land, but real lightning floods. As if that weren’t enough, they hit a ground parched by the heat and unable to hold back the incoming rain “.

So would the solution be snow in the winter months?

“Exactly, the snow with its slow release is our real water reserve for spring and summer. But in the Italian mountains it snows less and less and at higher and higher altitudes. at 1600, it means that we have lost that band of 200 meters of snow forever, which now falls in the form of rain and goes away immediately “.

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Forever? In the sense that the situation is irreversible?

“Well, all the efforts we are making are to stabilize the current situation by the end of the century. It is difficult, if not impossible, to restore the previous one. The glaciers, in particular, will continue to retreat even if we take action to limit or stop heating”.

So how does it come out? Will we face droughts and extreme events every summer to come?

“I share a formula that other colleagues also use: we must manage the inevitable with adaptation and avoid the unmanageable with mitigation.”

Translated?

“Reduce emissions (mitigation) to avoid real disasters. Reduce consumption, adopt more sustainable lifestyles and new cultivation techniques (adaptation) to address what is now inevitable, starting with water shortages in the summer months . We will have to get used to this type of drought. “

Considering the temperatures and the drought these days, how far away is the start of the fire season?

“Beyond the arsonists, which however represent 1% of the problem, depends on when the weather conditions capable of triggering the fires arise: for example strong sirocco and mistral winds. But time that the fires in our woods and scrub Mediterranean are now around the corner “.

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