Global Warming to
Greek Tourism

Athens News

Temperatures in the Mediterranean are expected to rise by 1-3 degrees Celsius between 2031 and 2060, according to a study undertaken by the National Observatory of Athens and published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Greece ahead of the G8 summit in Scotland. Global temperatures at the same are expected to reach 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial level.

The scientists expect that the rise will have wide implications for water levels, biodiversity, agriculture and tourism in the Mediterranean. Demetres Karavellas, WWF Greece president, points out thatit's expected that both the hot period in Greece will be extended and that the risk of forest fires will increase even by six weeks a year. Such a development will have serious repercussions for Greek tourism." WWF urged the G8 leaders to take action on climate change. G8 member-states account for 13 percent of the world's population, but they account for 45 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions - almost half of the emissions that cause climate change.

According to the Athens Observatory report, the warming in the Mediterranean is likely to be higher inland than along the coast. The largest increase in temperature is expected to take place in the summer, when the number of extremely hot days and heatwaves is expected to rise substantially, especially inland and in the southern Mediterranean. As a result, precipitation will decrease significantly and longer droughts will probably become more common, the scientists go on to say. It is likely that the Mediterranean will start experiencing something akin to tropical rainfalls, with more intense and strong rains, according to the observatory's predictions.

These developments will result in increased forest fire risk almost everywhere in the Mediterranean
and especially in inland locations. They will also lead to a general reduction in agricultural crop yields.
These could possibly be mitigated by adopting specific crop management options such as a change
in sowing dates, but the experts warn that such options could require up to 40 percent more water
for irrigation. It is not certain whether this will be available. In fact, the researchers predict that a
reduction in precipitation will probably reduce surface runoff and water yields. In some countries this could result in water demand exceeding available supply. Obviously these changes in temperatures will not leave biodiversity unaffected. They are likely to lead to shifts in the distributions and abundances of species and might increase the risks of extinction for some species.

Tourism will also be affected. The researchers expect that, as temperatures will rise throughout the world, northern Europeans will be more likely to give Mediterranean destinations the miss and opt for domestic holidays instead. In addition, more frequent and intense heatwaves are likely to discourage holidays in the Mediterranean in the summer, and the region's holiday season may shift to spring and autumn.

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