In Italy, the rivers and lakes dried up during the summer. Large sections of the country’s longest river, the Po River, dried up completely, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency in July in five northern regions.
Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, also shrank to near-record lows over the summer. Lake water was diverted into local rivers to help farmers in the country’s parched north, leaving Lake Garda 12.6 inches above the water table, which was close to the lowest levels recorded in 2003 and 2007. .
Waterways in other parts of Europe were similarly affected by drought and extreme heat. In August, Serbia’s Danube River dropped to one of its lowest levels in nearly a century. The Loire River in France also fell to record low levels over the summer amid a record drought in the country.
Parts of North America, like the western United States, remained in the grip of a severe drought this year. Dry conditions sparked dangerous wildfires in Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington state.
A study published in February in the journal Nature Climate Change found that ongoing “megadrought” conditions in the southwestern US, which have persisted for the past 22 years, are the worst since at least 800 AD.