Portugal is suffering from its worst drought in decades. Livestock and other agricultural losses have been devastating. In many parts of the country, January 2005 was the driest January in more than 100 years. The dramatic impact of the drought is clear from this pair of images. The green of Portugal’s forests and fields that was apparent in an image captured on February 11, 2004, was missing from an image captured on February 13, 2005.
In 2005, the landscape appears dull olive and brown as the country’s vegetation withers in the face of the drought. The dry winter has increased concern about the summer fire season in the country, which may have lost as much as 10 percent of its forests during a terrible fire season in 2003. These images were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the Goddard Land Processes DAAC.
More than 64 million people are directly affected by drought in the Southwest and Southern Plains, and far more are indirectly affected because of the vast number of farms, orchards, and ranches that supply the rest of the United States.
As May drew to a close, Spain and Portugal were entering the summer dry season already parched from a record-dry winter. Between November 2004 and March 2005, Spain experienced its driest winter since records began in 1943, reported the Spanish Meteorological Institute.