Macedonia Macedonia Macedonia Macedonia

Climate change Macedonia

The climate of Macedonia

In spite of the relatively small area of Macedonia, the climate is diverse. The following, more homogeneous climate regions and sub-regions are differentiated (1):

  • a sub-Mediterranean climate (50 - 500 m);
  • a moderate-continental-sub-Mediterranean climate (to 600 m);
  • a hot continental climate (600 - 900 m);
  • a cold continental climate (900 – 1,100 m);
  • a sub-forest-continental-mountainous climate (1,100 -1,300 m);
  • a forest-continental mountainous climate (1,300 – 1,650 m);
  • a sub-alpine mountainous climate (1,650 – 2,250 m);
  • an alpine mountainous climate (hs >2,250 m).

The climate ranges from alpine in the west and north-west of the country, to Mediterranean in the southern districts of the Vardar river valley (2), and is characterized by cold winters, hot summers and a highly variable precipitation regime (3). Alternating periods of long drought and high intensity rainfall are also a common feature of the climate.

Annual mean temperatures range from approximately 8°C in the north-west regions of the country to 15°C in central areas (4). Precipitation generally increases from east to west across the country, with annual precipitation ranging from about 400mm in the south-eastern and central districts to over 1000mm in the mountain areas that border Albania and Kosovo (5).

Air temperature changes until now

During the 1950s, higher air temperatures were recorded at all the meteorological stations. These hot years were followed by a colder period, from 1961 to 1998. Following this period, and after 1996 in particular, average annual temperatures increased and are continuously higher than the long-term average. The hottest year recorded on Macedonian territory was 1994. Significantly higher average annual temperatures than the multi-annual average were also recorded in 1999, 2002 and 2003 (6).

In the eastern Mediterranean, the intensity, length and number of heat waves have increased by a factor of six to eight since the 1960s (10).

Precipitation changes until now

The annual amount of precipitation in the period 1971 to 2000 was lower than in the period 1961 to 1990 for all meteorological stations in the country (6).

Air temperature changes in the 21st century

Climate change projections of the main climate elements (temperature and precipitation) have been made up to year 2100, i.e. for the periods 1996-2025 (‘2025’), 2021-2050 (‘2050’), 2050-2075 (‘2075’), and 2071-2100 (‘2100’) in comparison with 1961-1990 (reference period ‘1990’). Several climate models and emissions scenarios have been applied.

According to the results, the average increase of temperature in the Republic of Macedonia is between 1.0°C (0.9-1.1) in 2025, 1.9°C (1.6-2.2) in 2050, 2.9°C (2.2-3.6) in 2075, and 3.8°C (2.7-5.4) in 2100. The highest increase in air temperature by the end of the century at the country level is projected for the summer season (1).

Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East

For the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East an analysis was carried out of long-term meteorological datasets (period 1901-2006) along with regional climate model projections for the 21st century (SRES scenario A1B) (7). The results suggest a continual, gradual and relatively strong warming of the area of about 1-3°C in the near-future (2010–2039), to 3–5°C in the mid-century period (2040–2069) and 3.5–7°C by the end of the century (2070–2099). Daytime maximum temperatures appear to increase most rapidly in the northern part of the region, i.e. the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey.

Extremely high summer temperatures are projected to become the norm by 2070–2099; the coolest summers at the end-of-century may be warmer than the hottest ones in the recent past. As an example, the hottest summer on record in Athens in 2007 would be among the 5% coolest ones by the end of the century (7). The relatively strong upward trend in the northern parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East indicates a continuation of the increasing intensity and duration of heat waves observed in this region since 1960 (8).

Current and future daytime mean temperature trends in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East typically vary from 0.28° to 0.46°C per decade. The largest increases appear in some continental locations such as Belgrade, Sofia, Ankara, Baghdad and Riyadh with trends in excess of 0.4°C/decade. The same analysis was performed for daytime maximum and night-time minimum temperature; for daytime maximum temperature the largest upward trends are calculated for Belgrade, Sofia, Tirana and Ankara with 0.48°, 0.46°, 0.45° and 0.44°C per decade, respectively. For night-time minimum temperature, large positive trends exceeding 0.40°C/decade are derived for Belgrade, Riyadh, Baghdad, Athens, Sofia and Ankara (7).

Precipitation changes in the 21st century

Climate change projections of the main climate elements (temperature and precipitation) have been made up to year 2100, i.e. for the periods 1996-2025 (‘2025’), 2021-2050 (‘2050’), 2050-2075 (‘2075’), and 2071-2100 (‘2100’) in comparison with 1961-1990 (reference period ‘1990’). Several climate models and emissions scenarios have been applied.

The average sum of precipitation is expected to decrease from -3% (-1 - -6) in 2025, -5% (-2 - -7) in 2050, -8% (-4 –  -12) in 2075 to -13% (-5 - -21 in 2100 in comparison with the reference period. The most intensive decrease in precipitation by the end of the century at the country level is projected for the summer season. Practically no change in precipitation is expected in winter, but a decrease in all other seasons is (1).

Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East

From the analysis of long-term meteorological datasets (period 1901-2006) along with regional climate model projections for the 21st century (SRES scenario A1B) a decline of annual precipitation is projected of 5–25% in 2040–2069 and 5–30% in 2070–2099 relative to the reference period 1961–1990 (7). The decreases will be particularly large (>15%) in Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestine territories and Syria. In combination with population projections of the UN for 2040–2069, per capita water resources may reduce by two thirds in Cyprus and Jordan, and by nearly half in Syria.

In the Balkans, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel, the number of rainy days may decrease, e.g. by 5–15 days at mid-century and by 10–20 days per year at the end-of-century (7). This appears to be a continuation of a trend observed in Greece since about 1960 (9).

The intensity of precipitation (maximum amount of rain per day) is expected to decrease except over the northern Balkans and the Caucasus (7).

Wind climate changes in the 21st century

Practically no change is expected in wind speed over the country according to calculations with four GCMs (6).

References

The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Macedonia.

  1. Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of Environment and Physical planning (2008)
  2. SIDA and GRM International (2008), in: World Bank (2010)
  3. www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/Macedonia.html, in: World Bank (2010)
  4. www.climatewizard.org, in: World Bank (2010)
  5. Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (2008), in: World Bank (2010)
  6. Lambevska (2011)
  7. Lelieveld et al. (2012)
  8. Kuglitsch et al. (2010), in: Lelieveld et al. (2012)
  9. Nastos and Zerefos 2009, in: Lelieveld et al. (2012)
  10. Kuglitsch et al. (2010), in: Coumou and Rahmstorf (2012)
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