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October 04
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The level of the Rhine, which carries 80% of all waterborne cargo in Germany, has fallen to such dangerous levels that the river could become impassable for barges as early as this week, jeopardizing vital supplies for the country, The Daily Mail

As the newspaper notes, in 2018, when Europe experienced the last major drought, the Rhine was closed to cargo ships for 132 days, which almost provoked a recession in Germany. However, this year the cost of transporting goods on the river has already increased five times, and economists have calculated that disruptions could reduce Germany's overall economic growth by half a percentage point this year.

"We haven't analysed fully the event (this year's drought), because it is still ongoing, but based on my experience I think that this is perhaps even more extreme than 2018," he said.

"Just to give you an idea the 2018 drought was so extreme that, looking back at least the last 500 years, there were no other events similar to the drought of 2018, but this year I think it is really worse than 2018."

Due to high temperatures in recent weeks, a similar phenomenon is observed on several major shipping routes in Europe, which has created problems for German factories and power plants that rely on water supplies. "Our analysis indeed is pointing to extremely low flows affecting almost all the European rivers," said Toreti. "The Rhine river, for instance, that is causing big troubles for instance in the Netherlands."

The water level in the Rhine in the Kauba area will fall below the 40 centimeter mark on Friday and continue to fall over the weekend, and despite the fact that this is still above the record low of 27 centimeters seen in October 2018, many large vessels may have difficulty crossing the river at this point.

As noted earlier in the materials posted on the website of the EU Copernicus Earth Observation Program, last July was one of the six hottest in Europe in the entire history of observations, temperature records were broken in a number of states.

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