The changing rainfall regime in Greece and its impact on climatological means
This paper presents an analysis of rainfall amounts in Greece. For this purpose, monthly and annual rainfall data from 36 representative Greek weather stations were analysed statistically. Rainfall is represented by a standardised annual departure calculated as the ratio of the annual departure to the standard departure. The departures were calculated for two regional subdivisions. Clear evidence of changes in Greece's rainfall patterns over the past 25 years were found. The effect of changes on climatological rainfall means (‘normals’) is addressed and possible shifts in the rainy season were investigated. The secular variability of long time-series of annual rainfall amounts was also examined. In addition, the five-year running means of annual and monthly rainfall data and ‘normals’ were plotted. Comparisons of the means from the ‘old’ and ‘new’ 10-, 20- and 30-year, CLINO (Climatological Normal) period 1961–90 (the latest global standard normal period) and from the periods 1900–49 (‘old’ regime) and 1950–99 (‘new’ regime), as well as examination of the secular trend, shows that there is evidence that some parts of Greece have had shifts in their rainfall regime towards drier conditions. In general, rainfall amounts began to decline in the 1980s, a trend which has continued to the present. Most years between 1980 and 1999 experienced below to well-below ‘normal’ rainfall. Discrepancies between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ mean values for the amounts of rainfall and differences in the duration of rainy season suggest that ‘normal’ rainfall data for various water supply, planning, engineering and agricultural national projects should be calculated for the last 30 years. This is mostly true because of indications of a changing climate in Greece, a fact that requires more recent updating of the climatological ‘normals’.(Published Online December 20 2006)
(Received November 25 2005)
(Revised May 31 2006)
Key Words: rainfall regime; Greece; rainfall trends; climate change; rainy season; climatological ‘normals’.