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France has been experiencing the longest period of winter rainlessness for more than a month, with this year’s February being one of the driest months in the last 64 years for the country. However, February is also dry in several regions of Greece, according to data from weather stations of the Athens Observatory, as in Thessaloniki and Larissa there have been rains for almost 30 days. Nevertheless, according to data from the last 10-15 years, there is no decrease in rainfall, but a slight increasing trend. However, as stated by director of research of the National Observatory of Athens Kostas Lagouvardosin the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, what worries scientists is that climate projections for the immediate future, that is, the next 30 years, show that there will be a decrease in rainfall.

Although January was quite rainy, this did not continue into the following month. Specifically, according to Mr. Lagouvardos and data from the Athens Observatory, rainfall has occurred in Thessaloniki and Larissa since January 26, while in Ioannina since February 3. At the same time, Mr. Lagouvardos estimates that this winter will be one of the record winters in days where high temperatures were recorded.

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“In January we had quite a lot of rain, it fell in many areas of Greece, but we had very little in February. The bad weather that affected us brought rain and snow in the eastern part of the country but it had left out a large part of the country and as a result there has started to be a problem with some crops. The good thing is that from March 1st we will have a lot of rain in the country”, Mr. Lagouvardos points out to APE-MPE. Also positive for Greece is the fact that according to data from the last 10-15 years it appears that there has been no decrease in rainfall. On the contrary, a slight upward trend is recorded. At the same time, rainy days are fewer but more frequent. “Nevertheless, the climate projections for the immediate future, i.e. the next 30 years, show that the decrease in rainfall will also begin here. This worries us even though in our country we see that we have relatively good rainfall”, notes Mr. Lagouvardos and adds that the amounts of rain that fall are quite satisfactory but what is important is to analyze how this rain spreads over time.

For forester-hydrologist, professor of the International University of Greece, director of the ASSIST laboratory and holder of a UNESCO University Chair, Dimitris Emmanouloudi, it is more likely that Greece will find itself on the spectrum of water scarcity in the coming years if the necessary measures are not taken. “Our country is governed by dry and hot summers. At the same time, during the summer Greece doubles its population due to the arrival of tourists. The tripling of the population due to the tourist flow and the increase in water demand combined with the non-stop operation of industry during those months creates an explosive trend in water demand, even considering that there is no rainfall. All of this causes a large oncothermal gap”, notes Mr. Emmanouloudis to APE-MPE. To address this gap, as Mr. Emmanouloudis explains, water reserves need to be created during the winter months when and where rainfall occurs. “This can be done with reservoirs of various kinds and methods. A second way is to reduce losses as there are large losses of water and drinking and irrigation. In this direction, it is absolutely necessary to get to know the water footprint of each community, each island, each geographical division”, he emphasizes.

Under the microscope of scientists, water management is placed in relation to agricultural production, especially in parts of the country where there is less rainfall. “In places that have little water, a limited period of rainfall and increased pressure from tourism, such as in the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanese, if you miss some of the rainy months, you have a problem later,” explains Mr. Lagouvardos.

From the summer of 2021, France is in a worrying meteorological situation

Since January 21, rainfall has occurred in France, according to data from Meteo France. The country is facing its driest winter in 64 years as February 2023 is expected to end with a rainfall deficit of more than 50%.

The situation in Western Europe has caused reflection and concern in the global scientific community as, after the very hot and dry summer recorded, it faces a fairly warm winter with the days where temperatures are at seasonally high levels having increased significantly.

However, according to Mr. Lagouvardo, France is in an alarming meteorological situation and drought since the summer of 2021. “Since August 2021, all months have had less rain than normal with the exception of 3 months. In the west the summer had drought, high temperatures and wildfires unlike us here who had a relatively mild summer. This created a big problem”, notes Mr. Lagouvardos.

According to Mr. Lagouvardos, the situation that has developed is due to the anti-cyclonic conditions that essentially prevent the passage of barometric lows. “This resulted in parts of Western Europe and France in particular being characterized by relatively good weather and relatively high temperatures and a lack of rainfall, which of course to a certain extent we also see in Greece,” he says.

Professor Dimitris Emmanouloudis speaks of a more general climate deregulation situation in Europe and not just in recent years. “I remember that in the summer we had a severe drought in Western Europe, at the same time we had floods in Saudi Arabia, fires in Siberia. All this sounds foreign in front of the phenomena we are used to and depending on the climate zone that exists in each region. There is therefore a state of deregulation, a state of climate unrest,” he points out. According to Mr. Emmanouloudi, two trends have been formed in the global scientific community for the appearance of these meteorological conditions, however for him the only certainty is global warming which, as he emphasizes, not only affects the climate but also affects the dry heat that is created, that is, the dry thermal conditions, and the lack of moisture in the blastemic mantle. “This also creates the conditions for fires to occur. They manifest immediately and are intense and large and in extent and intensity”, he underlines.