Greece continues heating up; 2023 recorded as the hottest year

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According to data from the Climatebook annual report, there is a continuous upward trend in the average temperature in Greece in recent years with 2023 recorded as the warmest year in Greece in the last 30 years.

During the presentation of the 2023 climate assessment for Greece, it was emphasised that the past year was characterised by extreme behaviour in many elements, such as forest fires, heat waves, floods, situations which, as it was emphasised, "clearly show the impact of climate change".

Specifically, 2023 was the warmest year in Greece, with an average annual temperature for the whole of Greece of 15.2 degrees. "The temperature has been increasing decade by decade. The trend has increased from 13.5 degrees to 14.8 degrees, which means that as a whole country we have an increase of about 1.5 degrees in 30 years. This is a very large value," said Dr. Konstantinos Lagouvardos, member of the team, Research Director at the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development at the National Observatory of Athens.

Regarding 2023, globally in terms of temperature, Dr. Vasiliki Kotroni, Research Director at the National Observatory of Athens and member of, pointed out that 2023 was the warmest year globally, adding that the average temperature was 1.48 degrees higher than the average value of the pre-industrial period. At the same time, she pointed out that "carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase", as she said, the average annual concentration value for 2023 was 4.19 ppm - 2.6 ppm more than in 2022, in a continuously increasing concentration. According to Ms. Kotroni, there is a continuously increasing concentration at the global level, which contributes to the warm picture observed globally.

"The last 9 years, from 2015-2023, were the 9 warmest years globally relative to the records we have. Also, the global sea level is at the highest level ever recorded due to continued warming and melting ice and the rate of sea level rise over the past 10 years is more than double that of the first decade of recording, from 1993-2003. All magnitudes are tending to increase, this is the global picture," noted Ms. Kotroni.

Specifically for Greece, the average maximum temperature in 2023 was higher in all areas than the average value of the climatic period 1991-2020. At the same time, as it was emphasized during the presentation, it is observed that Northern Greece is warming at a faster rate than any other region of the country, and mainly the mainland regions. Regarding the months that showed significant deviations, according to the annual report, December 2023 was the warmest since 1991, with deviations from 4 to 5 degrees.

Regarding the rainfall that occurred in 2023, the researchers emphasised that 2023 was one of the relatively dry years of the last 30 years. The areas where less rainfall was recorded compared to the climatic value were Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, many parts of the eastern country (including Attica), the islands and Crete. The areas where more rainfall was recorded compared to the climatic value were mainly Thessaly (with a very large deviation due to the extreme rainfall of September) and large parts of Epirus and Western Macedonia. In fact, as the researchers noted, last February was the 2nd driest on record since 1991.

Regarding the sea temperature in Greece, 2023 was the warmest year since 1991. Specifically, according to the report, the sea temperature was higher in all seas than the climatic value of the period 1991 - 2020. In particular, in areas of the southeastern Aegean, the positive deviation reached +1.2-1.4 degrees, which, as Mr. Lagouvardos commented, is a very important event, because this deviation "puts a lot of pressure on marine ecosystems." In addition, in July and August 2023, the sea temperature exceeded 28 degrees in the sea area between Rhodes and Kastellorizo as well as in areas of the Ionian Sea, while the lowest temperature, 11 degrees, was recorded in the Thracian Sea and the North Aegean in March 2023.

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