Massive flooding in Europe: is it climate change?
Heavy rains in the North-West of Europe resulted in severe floodings across The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and also affected Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, and the United Kingdom.
As of the 26th of July, floods have reached at least twelve countries, more than 200 people have died, and almost the same amount is missing.
It was truly devastating for people, their property, industrial roads, and commercial landscapes. Some of the most damaging torrents of floodwater have cut off entire towns.
Besides human losses, massive floodings delay crop planting, reduced crop yields, and increased costs since crops (especially cereal species) are susceptible to stagnant water.
Today we will figure out how even short-term rain-induced flooding can harm plant development.
Stagnant water = poor soil performance
Water tolerance is a well-known quality of a large number of plant species. Moreover, sometimes crops are needed for floodwaters to maintain better growth and rich yields. However, what can save one plant species often might kill the other. And that is why:
- Oxygen is one of the most crucial factors in crop development. Temporary flooding results in reduced soil aeration or even block access to oxygen, so water excess is always about plant stress.
- Water excess also increases the concentration of ethanol and hydrogen sulfide in flooded soils which is devastating for the roots.
- Soil organic matter, which is also beneficial to soils, slows down decomposition rates when flooded due to soil erosion.
- Topsoils, which are responsible for the better half of plant nutrients, also are most likely to be washed away.
- Flooded soils also led to an increase in the pH of acidic soils and a decrease in the pH of alkaline soils.
Massive floods in the context of global climate change
After the dangerously high temperature in the United States and Canada, where the heatwave drained lands, floods in Europe have aroused new fears that human-induced environmental changes are making extreme weather conditions worse than expected.
The lack of water or water in excess has always been a common issue in agriculture. Climate scientists warn that we could see more extreme weather events like this more frequently unless action is taken. The significant challenge is to make sure things don’t worsen because climate change impacts are getting to the point when they can be out of control.
On average, floods cause more than $40B in worldwide damage per year.
Sure, we have no power towards the forces of nature, but there is no doubt that the number of losses can be decreased with the appropriate approach to the problem.
In SoilMate, we have developed a specific solution that is able to identify the stagnant water patches using satellite imagery.
We also trained our models to detect water erosion at the early stages. The solution is simple — choose the area, set timeframes, and SoilMate would help locate the erosion areas to repair and avoid its spreading.
Unfortunately, we can’t stop climate change in a blink, but we could definitely slow it down.
SoilMate — is the platform that was created to prevent climate change. And the main idea is next — if we don’t try now, we will lose the moment.