Home ScienceEnvironment Europe’s Shrinking Waterways Reveal Treasures, and Experts Are Worried

Europe’s Shrinking Waterways Reveal Treasures, and Experts Are Worried

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London — A hunk of rusted metal from an old pickup truck crumbles in the sun. Its windows, tires and interior are long gone, along with all its operable parts. It faces a cluster of hollowed out houses and derelict buildings, all in ruins of Aceredo, a former village in northwestern Spain that was submerged 30 years ago when a hydroelectric dam flooded the valley. increase.

Due to the current drought, adventurers can explore this ghost village on foot.

In Europe, once-submerged villages, ships and bridges (some thousands of years old) resurfaced this year as rivers and reservoirs dried up. While much of the continent faces a series of extreme heatwaves and devastating droughts, a constant stream of fascinating photographs circulates, with scientists suggesting that human-induced climate change will cause more This is causing two phenomena that are more likely and more serious.

The combined effects of drought and extreme heat are clear.

In Spain, the dolmen of Guadalperal, a 4- to 5-thousand-year-old megalithic monument often called the Spanish Stonehenge, rose from a dam west of drought-stricken Madrid. In Italy, where inhabitants are suffering from the worst drought in his 70 years, the ruins of the ancient Roman bridge Nellonia can be seen across the Tiber. Lake Edel, one of Germany’s largest reservoirs, has shrunk so much that the foundations of the village of Berich, which was flooded in 1914, are visible. In Prahvo, Serbia, the Danube has run very low, exposing more than a dozen ships sunk by Nazi Germany during World War II. Also in northern England, the water level at Beitings Reservoir has fallen, revealing an ancient draft horse bridge.

Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Science at the University of Oxford, said: “This is a sign that major changes are occurring in the global climate and the stability of regional weather, which are likely to put increasing stress on human systems and natural ecosystems.”

Humans have heated the planet by about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit), so climate has much more variability than expected, Dr. Malhi said. He added that if warming reaches more than 2 degrees, humans can expect much greater impacts than initially feared.

“As there is more energy in the atmosphere, it is becoming more and more extreme, such as extreme floods like those in Pakistan and extreme droughts like those we see in Europe, China and parts of North America,” he said. Told. “

These kinds of events were largely expected around 2040, but seeing them now strongly indicates that climate change is happening more rapidly than most thought, Dr Malhi said. .

Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute, said the growing interest in shrinking riverbeds and reservoirs across Europe could be attributed to the visual effects of extreme heat. said to be sexual.

“Heat has always been an extreme event that was ignored or ignored because the effects were not as obvious as floods and storms,” ​​she said. I think it’s because the heat is so extreme and all these rivers are drying up, so I think it’s more visible.”

According to Dr. Otto, many of the reappearing relics and ruins growing crops are scattered across the Mediterranean, one of the few regions in the world to see “massive desiccation.”

“What we found in the Mediterranean is probably what we’re used to seeing, because there are more and more of these very dry and hot years there,” she said. Regional finds are more rare, she said.

Some images from this summer — a raw hunger stone found in Germany, a 450-kilogram World War II bomb removed from a riverbed in Italy, and a medieval bomb in the riverbed of the dried-up Guadiana River in Spain. Sheep sheltering under a bridge — Not long ago, 2018 was the last time Europe experienced a significant drought. But this time it’s more serious.

In northwestern Spain, in November 2021, the old village of Acheredo began to emerge from the depths of the Alto Lindoso Reservoir. What is the current severe drought?By the start of the year, Spain experienced its driest January in 20 years, and by February the reservoir had dropped to 15% of its capacity, exposing the remains of Aseredo. The situation has not improved much over the summer.

“The magnitude of this drought is on the scale of a once-in-a-hundred-year or once-in-a-century event,” Dr. Malhi said, adding that extreme droughts are normal, but the challenge is that the frequency of these events will increase. I added that it is with time.

Parts of Europe may not fully recover from the current drought, Dr Otto warned, with dry summers expected to persist, especially along the Mediterranean.

“We still have so much to learn,” she said when asked what the discoveries might reveal about the state of Europe. I think you’re saying that it’s always been discussed as a thing.It’s not the future.It’s happening now.”

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