In stark contrast to the disastrous flooding-plagued summer of 2021, Belgium and the rest of Europe endured this year, and it was extremely hot. But analysts claim that both extreme events are connected.
According to François Massonnet, a researcher and climatologist at UCLouvain, both are caused by a blocking phenomenon that has been exacerbated by the increase in temperatures seen over the past 30 years.
“The general atmospheric circulation dictates weather; the configuration of low and pressures, and where and when they occur,” explains Massonnet. “What happened this summer is that an area of high pressure – an anticyclone, one that brings us hot and dry weather – has been blocked for quite a long time on our regions, and as a result, all the depressions, which bring us cooler and wetter weather, that arrive from the west and that should normally brim with moisture have been blocked.
Then, he continues, “we talk about a bottleneck.” Because an anticyclone’s cloud cover is so feeble when it remains in the same location for a very long period, precipitation stops, and it becomes extremely hot and dry. This persistence causes us to experience a sweltering and dry summer.
As opposed to that, “It was a significant downturn in 2021 that stayed rooted in our areas, according to Massonnet. “So, in addition, we experienced a blocked atmospheric situation that brought about a stationary region of heavy precipitation. It lingered for three to four days over our nation before beginning to saturate sections of Belgium with all the moisture in the air column.”
Along with this, these deadlocks situations are not new, says François Massonnet. “We have had them for a long period of time, as well as we will always have them.”