For the record heat this summer and expectations of meteorologists FOCUS News Agency speaks with Prof. Valeri Grigorov Spiridonov, deputy director of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
FOCUS: Prof. Spiridonov, what is the explanation for the record heat this summer?
Valery Spiridonov: First to clarify - the heat wave hit our country or more generally, the Balkan Peninsula. The explanation is the characteristics of the atmospheric circulation. There are two factors that influence its manifestation on Europe. These are the North Atlantic Oscillation (difference in pressure over the Azores and Iceland) and the pair El Nino and La Nina, in the southern hemisphere near Peru. They developed not just as expected. According to the forecast we had for them, we expected to be similar to last year's season with a major transition in the fall. Then we expected El Niño to develop significantly strong. Do not forget the fact that our country is on the verge of that influence. Central and Western Europe, we can say that things are not as developed as expected.
FOCUS: A week in the hottest days you had been warning of the dangers of fire, what would you advise people and authorities in order to take preventive measures against such fires?
Valery Spiridonov: Everyone knows that when drought we must be very cautious when light a fire, throwing cigarette butts and with the condition of agricultural machinery. This is the meaning of our warnings, to pay more attention to this risk. Negligence and irresponsibility, however, proved stronger.
FOCUS:Is there a trend for climatic disasters that have happened this year - floods, droughts, melting glaciers, to become more frequent in the future?
Valery Spiridonov: Yes, there is a trend of increase in extreme events. Longer periods without rain, and more cases of heavy rainfall are observed over the last 15 years, compared with the period 1961-1990. This period is a base of comparison and is used in all grades of meteorological services. However, if we maintain the existing infrastructure of dam lakes and irrigation facilities, this tendency would not be terrible. We expect this to continue in the coming years. But it would be premature to associate this trend with climate changes.
FOCUS: How does climate change affect the environment and people?
Valery Spiridonov: I will refrain from the view that climate change is occurring. But the weather is certainly significantly influenced. The extinction of colonies of bees in the winter, the presence of non-native species to certain areas, and the decline of their characteristic is related to weather changes. There are years with swarms of locusts from Africa. Many examples can be given, but this is an area of biologists, and my impressions are as an observer.
In view of the effects on humans, doctors warn of risk of heart disease caused by sudden temperature change. Hot spells are always problems associated with these people.
FOCUS: Can we expect more significant climate changes over the next 40 to 50 years?
Valery Spiridonov: Warming is the most common hypothesis for climate change in the next 40-50 years. It is based on climate models which show an increase in average temperatures in some scenarios the amount of greenhouse gases. In the different models warming is different. NIMH also has its model. According to the calculations that are made to 2100 is shown an increase of 3-4 degrees for the country as a whole and reduce of the quantity of rainfalls in the eastern part of about 15-20%. But in these models are not yet considered a range of factors. Some of them could not be included , such as a powerful volcanic eruption, for example. Even small changes in solar radiation can lead to significant modification of atmospheric dynamics. It can not be predicted.
FOCUS: Given the severe drought now, what autumn and winter are expected, according to your research?
Valery Spiridonov: This autumn rainfall is expected to be about the norm, it seems probable for a little warmer weather. In a period of El Niño, which has already begun, 60-70 percent of the winters is with more precipitation and is cooler than normal.