Crop condition was generally above average in the western European MPZ during this reporting period, resulting from a combination of positive temperature anomalies and overall above-average precipitation in most areas.
Significant differences in precipitation were observed between different countries but the MPZ as a whole recorded slightly above average RAIN (up 3%). Before mid-September, more than 90% of the MPZ suffered a deficit in rain; over the entire monitoring period, poor precipitation was observed in more than 60% of the areas (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary) with the most severe shortfalls in Slovakia (RAIN -33% compared with average), Hungary(-26%), Austria (-9%) and the Czech Republic (-5%). However, frequent and abundant rainfall was observed in the UK, France, and west-Germany, which benefited summer crops to some extent in those regions. RAIN deficit conditions persisted after September in Slovakia, Hungary Austria and the Czech Republic where they affected the sowing and emergence of winter crops: more rain is needed in those regions in the coming months to improve soil moisture and create favorable conditions for the winter crops.
Temperature for the MPZ as a whole was slightly above average (TEMP +0.6°C), and sunshine was well above average with RADPAR up +3%. Most areas experienced warmer-than-usual conditions , while below the average temperature mostly occurred in early-September and early-October. The spatial distribution of temperature profiles indicates that three heat waves swept across Europe in late August, mid-September and mid-October. High temperature shortened the grain filling stage of crops and accelerated the maturity, which may reduce crop yields and - combined with rain deficit - may cause a reduction of sown area of winter crops in the North and East of the MPZ.
Due to warmer-than-usual conditions and favorable sunshine, the biomass accumulation potential was 8% above average. The lowest BIOMSS departures (-20% and less) occurred in Denmark and north of Germany, and scattered in other countries. In contrast, BIOMSS was above average (sometimes exceeding a 20% departure) over central France, south-eastern Italy, and central Spain.
The average maximum VCI for the MPZ reached a value of 0.87, indicating mostly favorable crop condition. More than 90% of arable land was cropped, which is the same as the recent five-year average. Most un-cropped arable land was concentrated in Spain, and south-eastern Italy. Cropping intensity (133%) was up 3% compared with the five-year-average across the MPZ.
Altogether, the condition of harvested winter crops was above average during this reporting period, while the condition of summer crops was mixed, with large spatial differences. More rain is needed to ensure an adequate soil moisture for the ongoing winter crop season.
Figure 2.5a. Western Europe MPZ spatial distribution of rainfall profiles (left) and profiles of rainfall departure from average (mm) (right), July-October 2019
Figure 2.5b. Western Europe MPZ spatial distribution of temperature profiles (left) and profiles of temperature departure from average (℃) (right), July-October 2019
Figure 2.5c. Western Europe MPZ maximum VCI, July-October 2019
Figure 2.5d. Western Europe MPZ cropped and uncropped arable land, July-October 2019
Figure 2.5e. Western Europe MPZ biomass accumulation potential departure, July-October 2019
Figure 2.5f. Western Europe MPZ VHI minimum, July-October 2019
Figure 2.5g. Western Europe MPZ cropping intensity, November 2017-October, 2019