Research, Technology

The European river Rhine began to dry up. Where it leads?

The summer of 2022 turned out to be very hot, especiallyfor UK residents. In July, a record high temperature of +40 degrees Celsius was recorded there, which caused numerous fires. The same warm weather persists in other European cities, which also causes many problems. Recently, scientists studied satellite images of the Rhine River, which is considered one of the largest in Europe. They clearly show that the water level in it has dropped significantly compared to last year. This is bad, because reducing the amount of water can lead to the death of animals. But that's not all - cargo ships can't sail on the partially dry river, and it is a very important route for the delivery of various products, from grain to chemicals and coal. Will the river dry up completely?

The Rhine River is an important route for transporting products

Interesting fact: in 1986 one of the mostmajor environmental disasters in Europe. A fire broke out at the Sandoz chemical plant, which resulted in the release of 30 tons of pesticides, mercury and other chemicals into the water. The river turned red, residents of nearby settlements were forbidden to leave their homes, half a million fish died, some species completely died out.

Consequences of the catastrophe in the river Rhine

Satellite imagery of the Earth

The fact that the Rhine River dries up, scientists were convinced ofduring the study of photographs from satellites of the Sentinel-2 family. There are two of them in total: the first was launched in 2015, and the second two years later. The satellites are equipped with cameras to take high-resolution images. In particular, they are interested in vegetation, soil and the state of coastal areas. Thanks to spacecraft, scientists can timely learn about changes in the face of the Earth - a couple of years ago they were able to find out that the snow in Antarctica turned green.

Space satellite Sentinel-2

Drying up of the European river Rhine

In new photos from the Sentinel-2 satellitesyou can see big differences in the state of the river Rhine in August 2021 and 2022. For example, in an area near the German city of Frankfurt am Main, the water level dropped to 32 centimeters. The loss of water is happening very rapidly - according to scientists, last week this water level was 42 centimeters. Not only is water loss a worrying sign for conservationists. Due to the lowering of the water level, fully loaded ships cannot move along the river.

River Rhine in August 2021

According to information from SciTechDaily, forfree-floating ships require water at a level of about 1.5 meters. But now, due to the drying up of the river, they can only take part of the cargo with them - if you take more, there is a high probability of running aground. The quality of life of many European countries depends on cargo ships sailing along the Rhine River - it flows through the territory of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Therefore, the ships continue sailing, but are only 25-35% loaded.

River Rhine in August 2022

See also: How did the “biologically dead” River Thames come alive again?

What will happen to the river Rhine in the future

The drying up of the Rhine River in 2022 is verywarning sign. If this happens regularly and with greater force, in the future this phenomenon may well develop into a very serious problem. This year, everything should be fine, because in the near future in Europe they promise a cold snap and regular rainfall. If the forecasts are correct, the water level in the Rhine River should recover and the ships will start working at full capacity again. But the river may lose water next year, and to prevent this, some measures must be taken.

Cargo ships on the river Rhine - regular guests

The length of the Rhine River is 1233 kilometers.It originates in the Alps, at an altitude of 2412 meters, and ends in the North Sea, a shallow shelf sea of ​​the Atlantic Ocean. The area of ​​the Rhine river basin reaches 185 thousand square kilometers, but due to the abnormal heat, this figure is clearly decreasing and generally unstable.

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The drying up of the Rhine River is another proofglobal warming. This is scary to realize, but the amount of such evidence is growing every year. In 2021, there were many wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. If you want to know how they reminded humanity of the deplorable state of the Earth, read the material of my colleague Andrey Zhukov, here is the link.