Thursday, April 21, 2011

Swiss face one of worst droughts on record

Terra Daily: Swiss officials began moving trout from a river this week to save them from plunging water levels, amid one of the worst droughts to hit the country in 150 years. "2011 is off to a good start to finish as one of the most significant droughts since 1864," the year when records began in Switzerland, said Olivier Duding, a climatologist from Swiss weather service Meteosuisse.

Across Switzerland, rainfall measured from January to date is half that of previous years' average. Eastern Switzerland's ski resort of Sils-Maria has recorded the beginning of 2011 as the driest since records began. In canton Zurich, officials began moving trout this week from the river Toess before their habitat dried up.

Meanwhile, cracked mud line the shores of western Switzerland's Lake Gruyere where water levels have also plunged. According to Meteosuisse, the drought in western Switzerland over the last 12 months is as severe as those recorded in 1884 and 1921.

Several cantons have also imposed bans on lighting fire in and close to forests. "It is very dry in Switzerland, there has been a snow shortage, a water shortage through winter," said Urs Vogt, who manages Suckler Cow Switzerland, an association which champions keeping calves with their mothers after birth….

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