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New Year swim but scientists concerned about prolonged high temperatures

Ηigh temperatures since the beginning of December are a cause of concern for Greek scientists as this prolonged “summer” in winter breaks all records in terms of its duration.  “We have lost one third of the winter,” they say and speak of a weather and climate “anomaly.”

Αθήνα Πρωτοχρονιά

On the other hand, residents and visitors of Athens welcomed New Year 2023 at the beach with the most daring ones to put their swimsuits on and enjoy a refreshing swim. As they did on Christmas day.


New Year swim in Nafplio

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, Secretary General of the Academy of Athens and Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Christos Zerefos and Research Director of the Service of the National Observatory of Athens, Kostas Lagouvardos said that the prolonged high temperatures are an “anomaly” and expressed the belief that the climate system of the planet is disturbed.

Zerefos said that the Atlantic Ocean, which separates Europe from the Americas, is the sentinel that allows heat or cold to go to Europe.

“This is how the cold wave went in America, while heat came to Europe and the heat remains, but of course not for long, at least in our country. These warm winters that we have had in the last 20-30 years are the warmest in the entire long time series that our country has. Well, now that will go away. It has already left America and is starting to be transported,” he stressed.

“The entire climate system of the planet is disturbed. We start from there. In the last 40 years it has been greatly disturbed. We have instabilities everywhere. Climatic instabilities. It is not like the vagaries of the weather, it is not a barometric low or a high. They are anomalies, i.e. below or above normal values for weeks. We have been seeing this for the last 40 years which is alarming. That is why we are trying with the various agreements, if they are ever implemented, to see if we can get rid of fossil fuels”, Zerefos noted.

On his part, or his part, Lagouvardos, stated that what stands out is not so much the high temperatures, but the duration.

“What stands out about this ‘summer’ of the last 30 days is the duration. In 2010 we had a maximum temperature of 30 degrees in northern Crete, the highest ever seen on New Year’s Day, but that was short lived. However,  here we are continuing this pattern for more than 30 days and that is the worrying thing”, he explained.

“Unfortunately, most months of the year in our country are warmer than what we call ‘normal’ by climate values, with the exception of a few months. There is a complete lack of snow at the moment, not only in ski resorts, but also in the Greek mountains. The snow cover is minimal, very little, less than 0.1% of the Greek territory is covered by snow, while at this time it was usually more than 10%, and no change is seen, at least next week,” he added.

Lagouvardos suggested that there will be a change in the weather probably in the second ten days of January.

He stressed that “at the moment we are three to four degrees above normal values for the season in terms of maximum temperatures, a deviation that is very important because as we said it also lasts.”

He added “my assessment is that since we have two winter months ahead of us, we will also have cold spells, we will also have snow. We want them in the mountains, not only for skiing but for the water balance. It would be unlikely that we would not see some cold, but at least it doesn’t look like this in the first ten days [of January],, possibly in the second ten days of January”, he estimated.

Zerefos then noted that climate destabilization is a global phenomenon. “We have lost a third of the winter, the cold, for now. These extreme phenomena also occur in other countries. It’s not just happening to Greece… We know that this anomaly that we’ve been seeing for the last decade will continue and even get worse, especially after 2050 as all the calculations of all the models all over the earth show.”

“Indeed, we are entering a destabilization of the climate and we are doing everything we can to stop this route to the unknown”, Lagouvardos concluded.

On the last day of 2022, temperature reached almost 20 degrees Celsius in chania, Crete, reported.

Chart: Maximum temperatures at 3:00 p.m. on December 21, 2022

December 2022 was the hottest since December 2010.

Map shows the deviations of the maximum daily temperature values in the month of December 2022 by geographical region, compared to the average value of the period 2010-2019.

Happy about the high temperatures are only citizens who see a unique chance to save in heating expenses.

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