Athens among European capitals that will suffer more heat waves and droughts in future


Athens is among the European capitals that appear set to experience the worst increases in both droughts and heat waves in the future, according to a landmark study by the University of Newcastle using all climate models.

The study, published in the Environmental Research Letters journal, shows that the impact of flooding, droughts and heat waves by 2050-2100 in 571 cities will exceed previous predictions.

The study said Lisbon and Madrid rank among the capital cities that will see the biggest increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts, adding that Athens, Nicosia, Valletta and Sofia could experience the worst increases in both drought and heat waves.

According to what the study described as the high-impact scenario, 98 percent of European cities could see worse droughts in the future. Cities in Southern Europe, in particular, may experience droughts up to 14 times worse than today. Athens, Patra, Iraklio, Kalamata and Piraeus are among the 30 European cities that could be plagued by intense heat waves and extended droughts. 

“Although Southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond breaking point,” said Dr Selma Guerreiro, lead author of the study. 

Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study, said the study “highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions.”