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WSL Drought Initiative 2018

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The 2018 summer half-year brought Switzerland (but especially Central and Northern Europe) one of the most pronounced droughts of recent decades. This has resulted in record-low runoff, extreme soil dehydration, severely limited water uptake by vegetation and exceptionally early leaf discoloration. The WSL with its core business in the field of forest, hydrology and biodiversity was particularly in the focus of this drought situation and is now required to investigate the events and impacts of this summer and to derive new insights into how to deal with similar situations in the future.

The aim of this extraordinary WSL initiative is to quickly answer specific questions arising from the extreme drought of summer 2018. In particular, the aim is to ensure that the WSL is equipped at the beginning of summer 2019 to assess and predict the situation even better in the event of a renewed drought.


Drought classification

Early detection of drought

Early leaf discoloration (leaf fall)

Lightning-induced fires

Medium- and long-term effects

Public perception


Further Information