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Trends in annual temperature & precipitation: 1960-2014

Temperature: Temperatures have risen in the region in the last fifty years, and every country in the region has experienced warming with this trend accelerating in the most recent decades (UNFCCC National Communications). Summer is the season which has warmed the most (Kostopoulou and Jones, 2005). One important effect of this trend is that the frequency and severity of temperature extremes has also increased across the region. In Albania, for example, the increase in the number of days over 40°C has been one of the clearest observed changes in recent decades. Heatwaves across the region are increasing in frequency and severity. Precipitation: Thee observed changes in precipitation in the last fifty years are not as pervasive or clear as the observed warming. Generalizing about the observed climatic trends is difficult due to the complex topography of the mountains, especially as the Western Balkans has two climatic areas – the Mediterranean and the alpine/continental. However, overall the region has received a decreasing amount of precipitation, with Albania, Croatia and FYR Macedonia displaying the clearest downward trend. The mountain region of Gorski kotar in Croatia had the greatest decrease. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia experienced mixed or unchanging precipitation patterns. Droughts have become significantly more common in Serbia, FYR Macedonia and Kosovo. Within the region, the Dinaric Alps generally receive the most precipitation (Lelieveld et al., 2012). The mountains in the Western Balkans are therefore central to the flow of fresh water (Schneider et al., 2013), as decreasing precipitation and increasing evapotranspiration are combining to make the region, and soils in general, drier.

Year: 2015

From collection: Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Western Balkan Mountains

Cartographer: GRID-Arendal and Cartografare il Presente/Nieves Izquierdo

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