Ismail Sari – ISTANBUL
Due to climate change and the global impact of the current meteorological phenomenon La Nina, Turkey should expect a warmer and drier summer, according to experts.
“This year, La Nina is very strong, and its effects are persistent. While heat levels in the northern regions float below normal, they seem to be near season normal in the south,” meteorological engineer Güven Özdemir said.
“In the first two weeks of June, temperature levels will stay slightly below normal, and we will see arid days. I can say that the months of July and August will be very hot and arid compared to the summer of last year,” he said.
Özdemir warned that authorities should take precautions against wildfires, droughts and potable water scarcity and risk management teams should be established ahead of summer.
“For instance, the storage rate of Istanbul reservoirs is at around 87 percent. Although this figure seems to be sufficient for summer, a scarcity of water could occur without adequate fall season rainfalls,” he added.
Turkey saw hundreds of forest fires erupt in its southern and southwestern provinces last summer, destroying swathes of land. With intensive and dedicated efforts, all of the blazes were brought under control in over two weeks.
Fırat Çukurçayır, who heads the Chamber of Meteorological Engineers, the periods of midseasons – spring and fall – have shortened to a large extent in recent years due to global climate change.
“Obviously, we have been exposed to more and sharper heatwaves,” he said, noting that the Directorate General of Meteorology is forecasting normal precipitation rates but above-normal heat levels in the upcoming three months.
Warning that the accuracy of seasonal predictions is generally low, Çukurçayır underlined that Turkey has not left behind the meteorological drought it has had in the last two years. “The recent downfalls will have a positive effect, but they are not enough to eliminate the risk of drought yet,” he said.
Until recent decades, most regions of Turkey used to see the coming of spring in March and the mild and rainy weather in April.
The month of March this year has been recorded as the second coldest one since 1987, as the average temperature was 4.1 degrees Celsius, well below the long-term average of 7.8 degrees.
A short period of an African heatwave in April did not help much to uplift temperature levels in April.
Northern winds coming from Russia and the Balkans are expected to bring evening chills and rainfalls to most parts of the country in the upcoming days, according to forecasts.
“The temperature levels rise to between 17 to 21 degrees at noon, but after the sunset, they drop to around 9 to 13 degrees with strong winds,” Özdemir said.
Temperature fluctuations will continue until June, he added.
Experts have also warned about duststorms, which hit the regions of Marmara, the Aegean, Central Anatolia, the Western Black Sea and the Central Black Sea recently.
Sand dust coming from Africa could affect Turkey with strong winds and dry weather, Çukurçayır said.