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 2007 drought in the Republic of Moldova

The frequency of droughts and the intensity of natural hazards in the Republic of Moldova have increased over the centuries. Droughts, which account for 13 per cent of the total number of hazards, have a severe impact. In the last two decades, catastrophic droughts occurred in 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2007.

The shortage of precipitation and its unequal distribution cause frequent and severe droughts. The probability of occurrence of severe droughts (≤50 per cent of normal precipitation) with catastrophic consequences during several months of the crop growing period in the Republic is 11-41 per cent.

dead sunflowers

A sunflower field affected by the 2007 severe drought

 

In recent decades, droughts occurred more frequently and became more severe. From 1990 to 2007, nine years (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007) recorded various intensities of droughts and caused losses in both agricultural and livestock sectors. In 1990, 1992 and 2003, droughts continued for the whole vegetation period (April-September), while, in the other years, droughts were registered only in summer. 

Droughts which occurred during 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2007 can be characterized as catastrophic and caused big losses in national economy.

 

To assist countries to cope better with droughts and therefore improve food security, WMO is promoting the establishment of Drought Management Centres. WMO and the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized a series of workshops and meetings that led to the establishment of the Drought Management Centre for South-Eastern Europe (DMCSEE) within the context of UNCCD.

The DMCSEE, hosted by Slovenia, will serve 10 other countries in the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Turkey).

Working closely with the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of these countries, the DMCSEE will coordinate and facilitate the development, evaluation and application of drought risk management tools and policies with the goal of improving preparedness and reducing impacts.

 

The 2007 drought in the Republic of Moldova started in autumn 2006. The amount of precipitation received during the period 1 September 2006-6 August 2007 was only 50-70 per cent of the normal rainfall. The situation became more severe in May-June 2007, as the quantity of precipitation received was only 30 per cent of normal and the average air temperature was   21–23°C, which was 3-4°C above the normal temperature. The continuous period without precipitation varied between 28 to 73 days and the number of days with relative air humidity ≤ 30% ranged from 55 to 78 days, which  is three to four times higher than normal.

The number of days with maximum temperatures ≥30°C was 36-45 days, which is three times higher than the normal, and the number of days with maximum temperatures ≥35°C were 10-12.  The maximum air temperature of 41.5°C was registered on 21 July 2007 at the meteorological station of Camenca.

The catastrophic 2007 drought affected more than 80 per cent of the territory of the republic and is the most severe drought registered for the whole period of instrumental measurements. Taking into consideration the main agrometeorological indices, the 2007 drought was more acute than the 1946 drought (Figures 1 and 2) and caused economic losses of US$ 1 billion.

figure 1

Figure 1 — Average monthly air temperature (°C) for 1946 and 2007 years at Chisinau

 

figure 2
Figure 2 — Quantity (mm) of precipitation received during 1946
and 2007 at Cisinau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The agricultural sector was affected the most by the 2007 drought. Principal crops such as corn, sunflower, sugarbeet, and tobacco, as well as fruit trees were affected (Figures 3 and 4) and the industries linked to these have been left without raw material. The situation is also acute in the livestock sector. Negative impacts in the sector will continue to be seen next year.

In view of this situation, the Republic of Moldova sought the assistance of the international community.

More information on this subject may be found on the State Hydrometeorological Service Website.

 Constantin Mihailescu
Valeriu Cazac
Ilie Boian

moldovian book

Climate Change and Hazards Prediction in the Black Sea Region

By Constantin Mihailescu
English translation, 2005
ISBN 9975-9790-6-8
272 pp.
Numerous figures and colour plates

This book addresses the major aspects of regional climate evolution and natural hazards in the Black Sea region and of the Republic of Moldova in particular. It covers geography, paleoclimates, climate evolution, long-term climate prediction, tendencies and causes of regional climate change (including anthropogenic impacts) and solar activity and its influence on climate and the biosphere.

 

 

 

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