News

2019.06.13 16:42

Climate change behind longer and more intense heatwaves in Lithuania

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS2019.06.13 16:42

As temperatures remain above 30 degrees in Lithuania, scientists say heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.

“It's not a new phenomenon, we've had heatwaves before, but due to climate change they are becoming more frequent and intense,” Donatas Valiukas, a climate expert from Vilnius University, told BNS Lithuania on Thursday.

Temperatures are setting new records in Lithuania this week as thermometers pushed above 35 degrees centigrade in some areas on Wednesday. Thundery showers and hail are forecast on Thursday.

“Temperatures exceeding 30 degrees used to be a rare thing. Now it happens practically every year and heatwaves are longer and temperatures are higher,” the expert said.

He also noted that the nature of precipitation has also changed as showers are more and more often followed by periods of drought.

“The general level of precipitation is growing in Lithuania but it's distributed unevenly with periods of abundant precipitation followed by longer periods of drought,” Valiukas said, adding that climate change will also bring stronger winds, squall and tornadoes.

More frequent weather extremes raise health risks for people, and climate change increases water pollution, forest fires and negatively affects roads and railways, undermines construction work and damages crops for farmers, Valiukas explained.

Over one hundred people took part in a demonstration in Vilnius last month, demanding that politicians take urgent measures to fight climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.

Read more: Lithuania ‘at the center of climate change’ – crop failures and extreme weather three years in a row