Climate change Montenegro
The climate of Montenegro
The north of Montenegro is dominated by high mountains; the central part is made up of the karst area with major depression/lowland areas, while coastal plains varying in width from a few hundred meters to several kilometers extend in parallel with the coast. The coastal zone is separated from the mainland by mountains whose slopes sometimes steeply descend to the coast. The lowest part of the central mainland area consists of the Zeta River and lower flow of the Morača River valleys, making up the Zeta-Bjelopavlići plain with Skadar Lake - the largest lake in the Balkans (1).
The southern part of Montenegro and the Zeta-Bjelopavlići plain have a Mediterranean climate with long, hot and dry summers and relatively mild and rainy winters. The climate is significantly more severe in the karst fields whose lowest parts lie far below the surrounding mountain peaks and are located at a distance of 40-80 km from the Adriatic Sea, as well as in the fields that are quite close to the coast (about 20 km) but are separated from the sea by high mountains (1).
The central and northern parts of Montenegro have some characteristics of mountain climate, but the influence of the Mediterranean Sea is also evident, which is reflected through the precipitation regime and higher mean temperatures in the coldest months (1).
The far north of Montenegro has a continental climate and low annual precipitation evenly distributed over all months. In the mountainous areas in the north summers are relatively cool and humid, and winters are long and harsh, with frequent frosts and low temperatures, which rapidly decreases with height (1).
Average annual air temperatures range from about 15.8°C in the south to 4.6°C in the north. Annual precipitation ranges from about 800 mm in the north to about 5,000 mm in the southwest. On the slopes Orjen, in the village of Crkvice (940 m above sea level), precipitation may even reach 7,000 mm in record years, which makes it the rainiest place in Europe (1).
Air temperature changes until now
Changes in temperature and precipitation have been quantified for Podgorica (Montenegro) for observations over the period 1951-2018. Maximum and summer temperatures have increased more than minimum and winter temperatures: the trend of increasing average spring and summer temperatures is 0.32°C and 0.37°C per decade, respectively, compared with 0.12°C and 0.15°C per decade for average autumn and winter temperature, respectively. The trend for average annual temperature is 0.27°C per decade. The number of summer and tropical days, and tropical nights is also increasing (3).
In coastal Montenegro, the frequency of warm nights and warm days increased while the frequency of cold nights and cold days decreased during 1951-2010 (2).
Air temperature changes in the 21st century
Projected seasonal temperature increase in 2001-2030 (SRES A1B Scenario), compared with 1961-1990, is 0.6 - 1.3°C, depending on the season and the area of Montenegro. Except for autumn, it is evident that the temperature changes are significantly greater in the northern, mountainous part of Montenegro, compared with smaller changes in the area near the Adriatic Sea (1):
- Summer: 1.3°C in the north and 1° C in coastal areas.
- Winter: 0.5°C in the coastal part, 0.9°C in the northern part.
- Spring: 0.8°C in the south, 1.1°C in the north.
- Autumn: almost no differences in temperature change going from south to north, with more or less steady change in the entire territory of about 0.7°C.
For the SRES A1B Scenario,projected seasonal temperature increase in 2071-2100, compared with 1961-1990,shows the same pattern as in 2001-2030, but with a greater magnitude of change: between 1.6°C and 3.4°C (1).
- Summer: along the coastal area 2.4°C temperature increase, in the northern mountainous region 3.4°C.
- Winter and spring: temperature increase of 1.6°C the coastal area and 2.6°C in the north.
- Autumn: temperature increase of 1.6°C in the coastal region and 2.4°C in the northern area along the border with Serbia.
For the SRES A2 scenario, results for the period 2071-2100 againshow the same pattern as in 2001-2030, and an increase of temperature in the territory of Montenegro within the limits of 2.6°C to 4.8°C (1).
- Summer: the greatest increase in the mountainous region in the north, with values over 4.8° C.
- Winter: temperature increase along the Adriatic coast of about 2.6°C, and about 3.4°C in the northern parts.
- Spring: temperature increase along the Adriatic coast of about 2.8°C, and about 3.6°C in the northern parts.
- Autumn: spatial distribution of changes is far more uniform, in relation to other seasons, in the range of 2.6°C to 3°C.
Precipitation changes until now
Changes in temperature and precipitation have been quantified for Podgorica (Montenegro) for observations over the period 1951-2018. Seasonal and annual precipitation did not show significant changes in the period 1951-2018. The number of days with more than 1 mm precipitation has significantly decreased, and the number of days with more than 40 mm has increased, however, indicating that Podgorica's climate has become drier and with more frequent extremely high daily sums (3).
Precipitation changes in the 21st century
Projected seasonal precipitation change in 2001-2030 (SRES A1B Scenario), compared with 1961-1990, is negative or positive, depending on the part of Montenegro and the season (1):
- Summer: positive changes up to 5% for the central area of Montenegro.
- Autumn: positive changes up to 5% near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Winter, spring: a decrease in precipitation from -10% to 0%.
For the SRES A1B scenario, projected seasonal precipitation change in 2071-2100, compared with 1961-1990, shows a decrease for all seasons and all parts of Montenegro (1):
- Winter: -30% in the central parts of Montenegro, values of up to -30% in the northern and coastal parts.
- Spring: about -10% in the whole territory.
- Summer: a significant decrease in coastal areas, and a decrease in the central and northern parts of -20 to -15%.
- Autumn: a significant decrease in precipitation from -30 to -50%.
For the SRES A2 scenario, during all seasons, except for winter, model results show a precipitation decrease over the entire territory of Montenegro (1):
- Winter: a precipitation increase of 5-10% is projected in the north-western parts, and a decrease of -5% to -10% in the other parts of the country.
- Summer: the biggest decrease, especially along the coast, of -50%. A decrease of -10% in the northern parts.
- Spring and autumn: a more uniform decrease with a mean value of -20%.
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Montenegro.
- Ministry for Spatial Planning and Environment of the Republic of Montenegro (2010)
- Burić et al. (2014)
- Burić and Doderović (2021)