Last decade hottest in North Macedonia’s history, climate change will bring even hotter summers


Hot summers and hike of the average temperatures, mild winters without snow, decrease of the rainfalls and long dry periods are the new climate reality in [“North” added to the name of the country in 2019] Macedonia that we have witnessed in the past decade. The research conducted by the National Hydro-meteorological Administration (UHMR) shows that the last decade (2011-2020), was the hottest on record in North Macedonia and the prognosis indicates further rise of temperatures, droughts and extreme climate in the forthcoming years.

The climate is changing both under the influence of natural causes, and even more under the influence of human activities. The changes in the last 30 years are visible globally and the rise in the air temperatures, the change in the rainfall schemes, as well as the increased frequency of extreme weather events and the periods with extreme climate changes are very evident.

“In this decade, the 9 years in the period from 2012 to 2020 are in the range of the highest values of annual air temperatures for the past 70 year period, and for the meteorological stations in Gevgelija, Demir Kapija, Strumica Shtip and Lazaropole, the year 2019 was the warmest on record,” said Nina Aleksovska, the manager of the Meteorology Sector at UHMR.

According to the latest research, the temperature increase is expected to continue growing in the future. The amplitude of the increase, by the end of this century, primarily depends on the scenarios of the future emissions of greenhouse gases. This clearly indicates that the future climate conditions in the country will be determined by the success of the international implementation of various policies related to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The expected rise of the annual temperature in the middle of the century is estimated at 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius, while at the turn of the century, the increase is projected at the scope between 1.5 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius, depending on the greenhouse gas emissions.

“Unlike the temperature, which will be rising, a decrease in the annual rainfalls is expected, mainly as a result of the decrease of the summer rains. The decrease in the annual rainfalls by the end of the century will be by 20 or 30%, depending on the future emission of greenhouse gasses,”  Aleksovska explains.

According to UHMR’s data, which are part of the latest report by the Ministry of Living Environment and Physical Planning on the living environment indicators, the hottestt year was 2019, with an average temperature range of 14.6 degrees Celsius. It had the highest deviation from the average annual temperature in the period between 1981 and 1990 by 2 degrees. The coldest year, with an average annual temperature range of 12.2 degrees Celsius was 2005, with 0.4 degrees Celsius less than the average value.

Even during 2020, despite the slowing downg of the world economy, especially the transport and a large part of the industrial production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still listed into the hottest years in the country’s history.

In Skopje, according to the data in the report, the average annual air temperature last year, compared to the average value of the designated period from 1981 until 1990, saw an increase by 1.2 degrees Celsius. In Bitola, for the period from 1961 until 1990, the increase is by 1.5 degrees, in Gevgelija by 1.9, and in Lazaropole by 0.9 degrees Celsius.

According to the Annual Climate Report published by the World Meteorological Organization, the last 7 years – from 2015 to 2021, are probably the hottest on record. In the first 9 months of 2021, the average temperature has increased by 1.09 degrees compared to the pre-industrial period. Unlike our country, where during 2019 there were record high temperatures, the hottest year in the world was 2016.

The rise of average temperature in the last 20 years (2002-2021) for the first time has surpassed the symbolic threshold of plus 1 degree Celsius from the mid-19th century, when people started to use fossil fuels on an industrial level. Humanity’s goal was determined with the last Climate Change ccnference that took place recently in Glasgow, was not to surpass the limit of warming by 1.5 degrees by 2030.

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