Greece braces for a prolonged heatwave starting next week with meteorologists warning that temperatures will climb over 40°C (104°F) in several areas of the country.
“If our forecast is right we will be faced with a difficult situation,” Kostas Lagouvardos, a meteorologist at meteo.gr told local media.
“We already had a three-day period with high temperatures, but it was not a heat wave. At the weekend we will see the temperature drop a bit, but from Tuesday onwards, a strong heatwave will start affecting the country.
“The most worrying thing is that it will probably last,” he said.
“The data available show that we will have temperatures above 40 degrees in several areas of the country. If these figures are verified, then we will be faced with a difficult situation, because heatwaves are a silent danger to health, to agricultural production, and, of course, to ecosystems,” Lagouvardos added.
Heatwave in Greece to last for at least a week
The experienced meteorologist revealed that according to the data, the heatwave could last for a week.
“We are already in the dry season, and this heatwave will make matters worse. We fear for the forests, as pine needles and twigs dry out very quickly.”
Panagiotis Giannopoulos, a meteorologist at public television ERT, warned that an intense heatwave may be lasting for up to 10 days.
Starting on July 12 the first heatwave will sweep the country for several days, he forecasts. “At the moment we cannot predict its duration, but it seems that it will last, with the current data, until at least July 22”, he added.
Heatwaves in Greece
Greece has experienced an average of 0.7 heatwaves per year from 1950 to 2020, but this average value has increased to 1.1 heatwaves per year from 1990 to 2020, according to a recent study.
The study published in the international scientific journal “Climate” says that there is a generally increasing trend in all characteristics of heat waves, including intensity, duration, and frequency of occurrence during the period 1950-2020.
The areas of Greece that experience at least one heat wave per year have almost doubled since 1990.
June was the hottest month on record
Meanwhile, the European observatory Copernicus warned that the summer of 2023 is set to be one of the most unusual in human history.
The combined effect of climate change and the return of the El Niño phenomenon are pushing ocean and land temperatures to unprecedented levels.
In the latest in a sequence of extraordinary temperature highs, June has already been declared the hottest month on record.
Since April there have been several record-breaking temperatures around the world from China to Spain via the Atlantic Ocean.