Germany’s driest November has shrunk Europe’s rivers, creating monthlong delays for oil- and ore- carrying barges, reports Jonathan Tirone and Misha Savic at Bloomberg News. The city of Koblenz evacuated 45,000 residents in late November after the Rhine River’s retreat to a 20-year low exposed an unexploded 1.8-ton World War II bomb in 16 inches of water. Falling water levels on the Rhine and the Danube are pushing up shipping costs and delaying shipments as companies turn to road transport or make more barge trips with smaller loads. Germany, home to the Danube River’s watershed, had its driest month since recordkeeping began in 1881. Lack of rainfall has pushed the waterway’s level to a 42-year low in Serbia. Record temperatures and depleted water tables along the Danube basin also contributed to the low levels, according the Drought Management Center for Southeastern Europe. Low water levels on rivers running between the Black Sea and North Sea have wreaked havoc on Europe’s freight transport. And, says the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the droughts will worsen under continued climate change.
Such disruption of transport routes adds further to the economic crises already afflicting much of Europe.
Europe’s clogged arteries drive up transport costs and uncover old bombs. Germany’s driest November has shrunk Europe’s rivers, creating monthlong delays for oil- and ore-carrying barges, while uncovering the continent’s deadly past. Bloomberg News