Greece among worst-hit Mediterranean countries by climate change

Greece among worst-hit Mediterranean countries by climate change

'Because it is a closed sea, the water warms up faster. The Mediterranean Sea accumulates energy from warming and expels it into the atmosphere,' says climate science expert

By Derya Gulnaz Ozcan

ATHENS (AA) – Greece has been among the worst-affected Mediterranean countries by climate change, which has caused severe drought and massive wildfires in recent months, said a climate science expert.

Christos Zerafos, senior climate science expert at the Academy of Athens, told Anadolu that the Mediterranean is more affected by climate change than the rest of the world.

"Because it is a closed sea, the water warms up faster. The Mediterranean Sea accumulates energy from warming and expels it into the atmosphere," Zerafos explained.

Consequently, the average temperature in the Mediterranean basin has increased by up to 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the last 120 years, he noted.

As a result, the heat waves that began to be felt in Western and Eastern Europe in 2003 first appeared in Greece and Türkiye in the 1980s.

Notably, heat waves in these two countries have become more intense and prolonged over the last two decades, he added.

What they experienced in the Mediterranean, according to Zerafos, is not only extreme heat but also a significant decrease in rainfall volume.

"As a result, soil moisture is down to 10%, contributing to an increase in the number of wildfires," he said, adding that over 500,000 acres (202,343 hectares) of forest area have burned to ashes in Greece alone this year.

According to him, the climate crisis will also have an impact on agricultural production.

"Farmlands close to the sea will be negatively affected by the rising sea levels beginning in 2050," he said.

In light of this, he urged swift and effective climate-change mitigation measures to combat the crisis.

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