A new heat wave that sent temperatures in some parts of the country soaring above 40 Celsius is due to subside from Thursday but is a further indication that summers are getting warmer, underlined by the fact that figures reveal Greece experienced the warmest June and July in recent history. According to data collected by the National Meteorological Service, this June was the third-hottest on record. The average high -- as recorded at the weather station in the Athens suburb of Nea Philadelphia -- was 34.6 Celsius, which is more than 3 degrees above the seasonal average. The only two times in recent years that the temperature was substantially above the seasonal average in June was in 2003 and 2007, when the top temperatures reached an average high of 33.3 and 33.9 respectively.

July also set new records as the average high was 37.2 Celsius, compared to a seasonal average of 33.4 degrees. Until this year, the warmest months of July were in 1998 and 2000, when the average top temperatures were at 36.2 and 36.5 degrees. The highest temperature recorded in Greece this year was in July, in Sparta and Tripoli, where it reached 43 Celsius.

Meteorologist Dimitris Ziakopoulos said the rising temperatures have been part of a trend this year.

“March was warmer than usual and we have less rainfall than usual, except in Epirus, eastern Crete and the southern Aegean” he told Kathimerini. “In April, the temperature was higher than usual, mainly in southern and eastern Greece. It rained more than usual, apart from Crete and the southern Aegean. May was also warmer than usual, apart from some areas in northwestern Greece and it rained more than usual in almost all areas.”

Ziakopoulos said that in contrast, winter had been colder than usual. “Over the last few years, meteorological records are being broken at a national and international level, and the appearance of extreme phenomena has increased,” he said. “We can no longer pretend that we do not understand what is going on. Climate change is not something that is going to happen in the next decades; it is already happening.”

Πηγή: e-kathimerini.com