Temperature: Predicting the climate in mountainous regions is particularly diffcult due to the complex topography. Mountains create diverse microclimates, which require high density of measurement. The distinct local differences also require high-resolution climate models, which are scarce. The consensus among the existing models, however, predicts that the Western Balkans will experience substantial warming throughout the twenty-first century. This regional warming will be higher than the worldwide average (World Bank 2014). In Europe generally, warming is expected to increase with altitude (Kotlarski et al., 2011), and some National Communications (including those of Serbia and Montenegro) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also indicate that the highest warming will occur within the mountainous regions of these West Balkan countries. According to a regional model based on the medium emission scenario, the Eastern Mediterranean is expected to be 3.5–7°C warmer by the end of the twenty-first century, with the highest daytime increases found in the Balkans (Lelieveld et al., 2012). Another model based on a high emission scenario predicts 5–8°C of warming in the Eastern Mediterranean in summer, again predicting the Western Balkans to receive the highest warming (Önol and Semazzi, 2009). Extremely warm days are particularly damaging to human life. What are currently regarded as extremely hot summers will become the norm in 2100. By this time, the warmest summer on record from 2007 will become among the 5 per cent coldest (Lelieveld et al., 2013). Days over 35°C are expected to increase by two weeks in the Balkan Mountains and one month in the region. The same model projects winter temperatures to rise by 3°C. Precipitation: The Western Balkans will witness a significant decrease in annual precipitation. However, projections for precipitation are not as clear or regular as predictions of temperature. The expected precipitation decrease is more pronounced in high emission scenarios than low-emission scenarios and is particularly strong in the summer (Önol and Semazzi, 2009). In winter, on the contrary, precipitation will increase in the mountains and the region in general (Kotlarski et al., 2011; Lelieveld et al., 2012). The annual number of rainy days could decrease by 10–20 days in a medium emission scenario by the end of the twenty-first century. No increase in extreme precipitation events are expected in the region (Kharin et al., 2013); however, flooding is predicted to become more frequent due to more precipitation in winter causing spring floods (Islami et al., 2009).
From collection: Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Western Balkan Mountains
GRID-Arendal and Cartografare il Presente/Nieves Izquierdo