Big Arid Greek Desert Looms: Climate Change, Drought Blamed

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Thanasis Kaliaras)

A combination of climate change, lack of rainfall and human error could turn big chunks of Greece into a desert over the next few decades, experts in the field said on World Day to Combat Desertification.

They spoke to the newspaper Kathimerini about the risks to Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean as global conditions are changing, denied by some politicians and critics who said it’s a myth.

Christos Zerefos, head of the Research Center for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology at the Academy of Athens, said, “Around 30 percent of Greece could be threatened with desertification,” the regions most at risk in the eastern Peloponnese, eastern central Greece, Macedonia and Thrace in the north, the Aegean islands and parts of Crete.

Soils will be undermined, he said, to the extent that they lose their fertility and “die.” Zerefos said the threat looms large in areas with declining rainfall levels and extreme weather conditions – floods and droughts.

The research head at the National Observatory of Athens, Christos Giannakopoulos, said those causes to blame were “climate change and erroneous human intervention.”