Weather events and patterns in the Mediterranean indicate that the region, including Greece, will experience a summer as hot if not hotter than the last, which brought successive heatwaves and raised the climate change alarm.
“We are watching the evolution of [weather] events in Spain and other countries in the Mediterranean, which, we need to note, is basically a hot spot for global warming,” Efthimios Lekkas, a professor of disaster management at Athens University and head of Greece’s Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization, told state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday.
“Why is that? Because we have a desert to the south – with the exception of a few areas, this is what it is – and this stands in sharp contrast to what is happening in the northern Mediterranean, where systems are in a precarious balance,” Lekkas said.
“There’s a very high probability that we’re going to have a hotter summer this year,” he said.
After explaining that experts cannot predict exactly what will happen next summer, he emphasized that the ongoing increase in temperature brings about enormous changes not only in the environment but also social and political changes.
“What I would like to point out is that an increase in degrees and temperature in the summer season and also in other seasons means that we have more drought. It means we have a high chance of fires. Then we have intervals with intense weather phenomena, that is, flooding phenomena, erosion, landslides and this whole cycle, which is a cycle that is constantly accelerating, leads to environmental degradation, leads to a phenomenon that has no return character. The phenomenon of desertification”.
Professor of Meteorology and Climatology, Prodromos Zanis on his part noted that it is not operationally possible to make a forecast for what kind of summer we will have.
“There are only seasonal forecasts that are at a research level from major international organizations and the World Meteorological Organization. There are some estimates for this summer that it will probably be warmer, but we have to look at that with some caution.”
“The truth is that if we look at the observational data… we will see that the frequency of such extreme events is increasing. Now and based on future scenarios, we are heading for a further increase: 5 and 6 episodes of intense heat per decade,” he added.
According to the European Environmental Agency, Europe as a whole is facing its warmest decade on record, with an average temperature increase of 1.11ºC to 1.14ºC warmer than pre-industrial levels. This is translating into more frequent, lasting, and intense heatwaves.
Greece experienced successive heatwaves last summer, with the temperature in many parts of the country topping 40 degrees Celsius for several says in a row.