Published on: 2.12.2019

Information produced by Finnish Environment Institute

When drought strikes

After rain, the ground steams as water evaporates back into the atmosphere. Evaporation also continues after the downpour has stopped, and unless it rains again soon, the ground will start drying. Droughts may also strike in Finland.

What is exceptionally dry in our country may be normal elsewhere, however, as nature and societies have adapted to the usual weather conditions and annual cycles of each region. If the rainfall amount is much lower than normal, society’s systems are put to the test.

Drought has many types of impacts: dry terrain brings a high risk of forest fires, and the crops of cereals and hay are reduced. Before too long, the drought may also cause groundwater levels to drop, which may make obtaining water difficult for individuals and society at large.

Drought may affect large areas, such as all Nordic countries at the same time. In this case, less hydropower will be generated both in Finland and its neighbouring countries, and the price of imported electricity will go up at the very moment when it is urgently needed.

Climate change is expected to bring worsening droughts at least to Southern and Central Finland, and we should indeed be prepared for dry spells. Farmers, for instance, can improve their lands’ water retention capacity by smart management. You can also find out in advance about any alternative sources of water that can be used if necessary. It makes more sense to plan in advance how you could cope with a drought than to react to problems once the water runs out.

Image: Pixabay