Greece records hottest ever winter, raising fears of summer fires

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

ATHENS: This winter was the hottest on record for Greece, according to data analysed by Greek scientists, threatening the viability of crops and raising fears of another summer of devastating wildfires.

From December to February, the average peak temperature was 11.3 degrees Celsius, 1.8 degrees above the average top winter temperatures from 1960-2024, soaring as much as 7-8 degrees higher in some parts of northern Greece, according to the National Observatory of Athens, which analysed data by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Indeed, it was the warmest winter since records began in 1936, and follows a trend: six of Greece’s balmiest winters have been recorded in the last 10 years.“Temperatures were above normal on most days, with only small intervals of cold weather,” Konstantinos Lagouvardos, research director at the national observatory, told Reuters.

“This is a new reality and we must take it seriously. Climate change is undoubtedly here.”The data is a concern for Greece, which is one of the most climate-impacted countries in Europe, where wildfires killed at least 20 people last summer.

In the autumn, torrential record-breaking rains wiped out homes, cattlelands and crops, raising concerns about the continent’s fragile climate defences.The country’s ski resorts saw lower-than-usual snowfall this winter. The warm weather may be adverse news for farmers, too, whose crops, including Greece’s famed olives, benefit from cold winters and a flowering season in spring.