Prof. Dr. Valeri Spiridonov, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in an interview with FOCUS News Agency
Focus: Professor Spiridonov, what is the scientific explanation of this winter’s chilly weather. Would we face even more cold weather before the end of the season?
Valeri Spiridonov: We cannot claim that the current weather conditions have surprised us with unusually cold weather. So far, the current winter seems to be warmer than the last year’s one and this is exactly what we expected. This tendency would probably continue in the coming months, namely, this winter would be warmer than the previous one.
Focus: Are the low temperatures and the registered negative temperature records something typical for our region?
Valeri Spiridonov: These records are not absolute. They refer to an exact and concrete place and time. They also depend on previous observation periods. The shortest the observation period is, the more frequent such “records” are. Our network has been developing for over 100 years and we have stations with different observation periods.
Focus: What does the cold winter augur for the rest of the year?
Valeri Spiridonov: There weather conditions of different seasons guarantee nothing for a certainty. We used to have warm winters and hot summers, as well as cold winters and chilly summers. We have witnessed various combinations of cold and warm, of dry and humid weather. Every season has its individual development, otherwise, weather forecasts would have been something quite easy to predict.
Focus: The summer was very hot and the winter – very cold. What are the temperature amplitudes telling us?
Valeri Spiridonov: The winter has not yet passed. Usually, the coldest winter period occurs near January 20 and lasts for 7 to 15 days. So far, we haven’t registered anything unusual and extreme. We will see. As I already mentioned, there is no connection between the temperatures below and above the norm. Many low and high temperatures can occur within the range of one year. Last year, we have witnessed such an example. When we start witnessing that the very low and very high temperatures are of more frequent occurrence during a certain period of time, as it has already been happening for the past 15 years, then we can suppose that this is a sign of some kind of a transition to a different type of weather. Many people believe the climate changes are setting in but I am not such an extremist.
Focus: What is the most typical sign of climate change on the territory of Bulgaria and would we witness any merging of seasons tendency?
Valeri Spiridonov: As I already told you, my opinion on climate changes is not an extreme one. The extremums are becoming more frequent and that is exactly what we are witnessing. The hot weather, the intensive rainfalls and the drought would be of more frequent occurrence. We observe such a tendency for our region but we cannot predict any merging of seasons. The autumn and the spring are the transitional periods from the winter to the summer and the other way about. It is impossible for such a transitional period to suddenly transform from winter straight to summer. More likely, we would witness one more graceful transition of cold and warm periods in a single season, which would makes us feel as if the winter or the summer are occurring earlier or later. This is what gives us the sensation of the merging of seasons.