Hot days with temperatures above 35 C and warm nights with minimum temperatures of at least 26 C are starting earlier in the year and continuing for longer, according to a study carried out by Greek scientists at the National Observatory of Athens, the Cyprus News Agency said on Saturday.
The study, headed by Dr Demetra Founta and published in the Global and Planetary Change magazine, observed shifts in hot extreme seasons in the Eastern Mediterranean, described as one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change.
The scientists relied on climate information from Athens, Nicosia, Crete, Rhodes and elsewhere as well as historical data since the end of the 19th century.
The study revealed a gradual but significant shift in the first appearance of hot days and warm nights. It also showed that they continue later into the year.
The period between the first and last day within a year with very hot temperatures has increased by three to 10 days per decade since the mid 1970s to the present.
As regards nights with temperatures above 26 C over the past 40 years, these last for 10 and 17 days longer for Athens and Nicosia respectively per decade.
The average duration of hot days in the Eastern Mediterranean is forecast as increasing by 20 days in the period 2021 to 2050 and by two months in the period 2071 to 2010 compared to 1971-2000.
Warm nights will become longer by one and two and half month respectively over the same periods, the same models showed.