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DEBUNKED: Europe’s claimed ‘worst drought in 500 years’

August 20, 2022

By Paul Homewood


Roger Pielke Jr debunks Europe’s “Worst Drought in 500 Years Claim”:



Europe is in the midst of what has been called the worst drought in 500 years. According to a drought expert with the European Commission in comments last week:

"We haven’t analysed fully the event (this year’s drought), because it is still ongoing, but based on my experience I think that this is perhaps even more extreme than 2018. Just to give you an idea the 2018 drought was so extreme that, looking back at least the last 500 years, there were no other events similar to the drought of 2018, but this year I think it is really worse than 2018."

While a full analysis of the ongoing 2022 European drought remains to be completed, so too the drought itself, it is clearly exceptional if not unprecedented. In this post I take a close look at the state of understanding the possible role of climate change n this year’s drought.

Specifically, I report on what the most recent assessment report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and underlying literature and data say about the detection of trends in Western and Central European drought and the attribution of those trends to greenhouse gas emissions.


In Western and Central Europe — basically Atlantic France all the way to Moscow, north of the Mediterranean region and south of the North Sea region — the IPCC and the underlying peer reviewed research on which it assesses has concluded that drought has not increased and, logically, that increased drought cannot be attributed to human-caused climate change. The only exception here is that the IPCC has medium confidence in an increasing trend of soil moisture deficits in some subregions, however the IPCC has low confidence that this trend can be attributed to human-caused climate change. Looking to future, at temperature changes of 2C and more, at present the IPCC does not expect the current state of scientific understandings to change. But stay tuned — that’s why we do science.

The full post is here.

  1. Mack permalink
    August 20, 2022 7:01 pm

    Andrea Toreti, the drought ‘expert’ quoted by the European Commission, is no student of history then. His ‘worst drought evah in half a millennia’ lament is palpable nonsense. Mind you, if he keeps up his erroneous doomster narrative, the BBC might even be inclined to give him a job in their Climate Fact(less) Check Department. He’d be well at home there.

  2. Mad Mike permalink
    August 20, 2022 7:51 pm

    Not quite on topic but have you ever wondered why there is rarely a comments section following BBC news items?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      August 20, 2022 8:00 pm

      Not really, for most BBC output 97% of comments are off message as they are concerned. They think it is a conspiracy by Daily Mail readers!

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 20, 2022 11:07 pm

        Doubt Fail readers are that bright.

      • August 21, 2022 1:08 pm

        A pathetically childish, patronising, arrogant and innacurate coment.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 20, 2022 9:06 pm

    We know full well, the incriminating communication/evidence is still relatively easily found, under the Obama administration they conceived the strategy of rapid climate attribution propaganda to flood the media whenever there was a weather event/natural disaster that they could exploit. This is typical of the climate movement’s dishonesty, as they spent years screaming it’s weather not climate stupid at sceptics that pointed to contrary events like cold. This latest drought narrative is yet another prime example of weather being cited as climate.

  4. August 20, 2022 10:59 pm

    >i?In Western and Central Europe — basically Atlantic France all the way to Moscow, north of the Mediterranean region and south of the North Sea region — the IPCC and the underlying peer reviewed research on which it assesses has concluded that drought has not increased and, logically, that increased drought cannot be attributed to human-caused climate change.

    Any questions?

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      August 20, 2022 11:08 pm

      But Al Gore and Greta said….

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      August 23, 2022 12:08 am

      Are the media, deliberately, confusing drought with low water levels in rivers and reservoirs?
      Drought, or the absence of it, should be defined by the amount of rainfall in a given period compared to the long term average. However water levels in rivers etc. are determined by input i.e. rainfall and the amount of water that is extracted. Since the amount of water used for agriculture, industry, household use etc. has increased over time it’s highly likely that river levels will be very low even when rainfall is higher than numerous years in the past.
      Is this a case of the media not understanding the complexity of the situation, or deliberately ignoring part of the picture in order to push the climate change agenda?

  5. Ben Vorlich permalink
    August 21, 2022 8:15 am

    One reason why it’s the worst for 500 years is that the Drought of 1540 is quite well known amongst those who follow “Worst Ever” headlines. When claims that this drought is the worst in human history 1976 and 1540 will be raised as part of “don’t think so and why is this one different?” response.

    This is a personal opinion but I think 1976 was worse where I live. There is a trace of green in many places and there’s been rain several times as recently as July and this week and earlier in the year.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 21, 2022 8:44 am

      Again a parochial view, but I am down in East Kent – as dry an area as it gets in the UK. Nearby is a Met Office registered private weather station. The site owner has records going back to the sixties when his father originally set up the site. He confidently assures me he has recorded significantly more rain this year (albeit not a lot) than 1976.Also the days over 30°C ( just 5 in 2022 so far) are nothing like the 24 recorded there in 1976.
      The vineyard owners around here are forecasting a spectacular year!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 21, 2022 10:22 am

        Not far from you in Surrey, I have abundant plums, damsons and elderberries. I think it was a perfect spring for blossom and the elder was dripping with flowers this year so the berries is no surprise.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        August 21, 2022 4:39 pm

        If you recall, though maybe you missed it, the chart showing rainfall figures was correct in that July was the driest since 1976.
        What the MSM reports failed to point out was that a) there was a cluster (can’t remember the number but into double figures) of about the same figure only marginally more than this year, and b) the 1976 figure was barely half of this year’s!
        Propaganda at its best: truthful but totally misleading!

      • mikewaite permalink
        August 21, 2022 6:00 pm

        The season of mists may not have arrived yet in Cheshire but mellow fruitfulness certainly has . Pear trees groaning under weight of fruit. plum trees had so much blossom earlier that the local pigeons could not complete their annual pleasure in nibbling them off , hence plums this year . Summer raspberries hardly over before the autumn ones begin. Huge blackberries in the bushes near Capesthorne and as for tomatoes and courgettes – words fail. (pity no one has yet cracked the age old problem of finding a recipe for making courgettes taste of something).
        Yet the BBC in tonight’s Country File will be no doubt be full of hysteria about failing crops and a winter of mass starvation.

  6. ThinkingScientist permalink
    August 21, 2022 8:46 am

    Note that in the IPCC canon they dress up unknown as “medium confidence”. As Pielke points out, that’s really hand waving with a 50/50 chance of being true…or not.

    That’s a form of deception. I know our MP thinks it means something serious and true, when it’s really just…unknown. It’s no better known than a random coin toss.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 21, 2022 8:51 am

      If that’s correct it’s absurd. Random chance is zero confidence. I’m not surprised though, the Climate Change zealots have introduced a totally new and utterly fradulent way of describing their “science” that allows them to pretend far more knowledge and certainty that they actually possess.

  7. Kim permalink
    August 21, 2022 10:03 am

    The IPCC are no friends of science. Their very existence is based on the theory of AGW and their deceit in justifying that existence is well documented and a major part of the whole and harmful CO2 scam. This means that there is no trust in the IPCC.
    Therefore when the IPCC comes out with what appears a rational response my first question is, why? Could it be that they know there is no justification on this matter and so would not want to dig another hole for themselves or is it because they are not clear to what measurement they refer to causing confusion? Surely in simple terms evaporation and precipitation are the controlling factors of drought, fundamentally dictating streamflow and soil moisture?
    Is it not right that if there was global warming due to climate change then there would be more evaporation, and precipitation? Isn’t that why deserts result from a global drop in temperature and rain forests and jungles a global rise in temperature? If so we will all hugely benefit from a few degrees rise in temperature.
    One thing is clear in my mind the media have never let truth or integrity get in the way of another catastrophic climate change story. As for ‘puppet politicians’ my belief is that they have very little grey matter between them and will simply do as they are told by their puppeteers, which are not the voters.

  8. thecliffclavenoffinance permalink
    August 21, 2022 12:24 pm

    It was the worst drought.

  9. Ben Vorlich permalink
    August 21, 2022 5:05 pm

    In my early 20s I experienced a drought prior to 1976, I’ve never found a great about it on the web. It was between college and getting into permanent work. It is not as easy to pinpoint as you might think.
    I speny most summers earning money in the same way. Working 6/7 weeks at a local army training camp cleaning and making beds while school ACF groups played at soldiers. Then grouse beating or deer stalking until college (or school) started. But it could have been one of two years.
    Whichever year it was there was no rain absolutely none June until October. The winter and sping had been dry as well. It was so dry that we were able to take the deer stalking ponies into areas where there would have been a danger of the them becoming bogged down. The ground wasn’t even soft. I would have put this as 1972 but the only reference to a drought around this time is this

    July to October 1972 was a dry period, but a rather wetter period followed. Going into 1973, January, February and March were generally dry, and then most regions saw rainfall deficits during June and from August onwards, especially the last three months of the year. Following this, 1974 began with a couple of wetter months.

    Is it forgotten because of 1976 or was it local to Scotland? Anybody got any references?

  10. Stonyground permalink
    August 21, 2022 5:39 pm

    I live in East Yorkshire. Yes it has been dry but I have two water butts that I have been using to water my greenhouse. There was a brief period when I had to start using the outside tap because the butts were getting empty but we then had a couple of days when it rained and they filled back up. Not that significant I know but an interesting anecdote. My garden has fruit trees and bushes and all of them have done exceptionally well this year. We have been making lots of jam. Obviously it is the end of the world as we know it.

  11. August 21, 2022 5:47 pm

    this could still be the worst drought in 500 years, trend or no trend. You have debunked nothing.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 22, 2022 9:23 am

      It could be the worst in 200 million years, it’s still a natural random weather event, not a climate change trend.

      If you can’t even follow very simple logic, best not to comment eh?

  12. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 21, 2022 9:11 pm

    O/T but wind at two per cent again.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      August 22, 2022 9:35 am

      It’s been a pretty poor summer for wind. If these conditions continue through winter, there’s no reason to suppose they won’t. then we’re in serious trouble.

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