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NASA satellite shows Britain turning brown due to drought

NASA Worldview’s satellite images have captured Britain’s landscape turning brown due to drought caused by the heatwaves. The islands’ landscape was mostly green in June, but the picture taken on Saturday shows the change in colour, especially across southern and eastern England.

The heatwave in Britain has hit hard again, with worries about how it would impact people’s health.

An official drought was declared on Saturday as low-water levels and tinder-dry conditions continued across the country.

The move is expected to trigger stricter controls on water use; some water companies have already announced restrictions, including hosepipe bans.

River Thames

The source of the River Thames has dried up further downstream than ever before, as England looks set to enter a drought that some experts say the country is unprepared for.

Britain’s Met Office said this July was the driest for England since 1935 with average rainfall, at 23.1 millimetres (0.9 inches), just 35 pct of the average for the month and record-breaking 40C heat. Some parts of the country saw the driest July ever.

The River Thames stretches 215 miles (356 km) across southern England, from Gloucestershire in the west through the heart of London, before entering the sea at Essex to the east.

The natural spring that supplies the river, known as the source, dries up most summers. But this year the dry riverbed reaches significantly further downstream than in previous years, according to observations by conservation experts.

“The Thames would normally be at its source – and there’s a nice pub next to it – would be about 15 kilometres back upstream,” Alisdair Naulls, an engagement officer at the Rivers Trust, told Reuters while standing in a small section of the Thames in Cricklade, about 80 km west of London.

“It’s very, very shallow here … but you don’t have to go much further up this little bit of the Thames to find yourself stood on dry ground. And really, that is ground that should still be wet and should always be wet.”

Naulls pointed out that the shallow, warmer water contained less oxygen, which fish and other wildlife needed to thrive.

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