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It’s hot, but not that hot

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This year’s sweltering Cyprus summer is no hotter than previous ones even though maximum temperatures have consistently hit 40 degrees Celsius for two weeks, Senior Meteorological Officer Michalis Mouskos said.

Asked by CNA whether the frequency of high temperatures has increased in Cyprus from previous years, Mouskos said that heatwaves are a combination of temperature, humidity and wind and specified the Met Office issues yellow warnings for high temperatures, not heatwaves.

“We haven’t seen the very high temperatures that we’ve seen in previous years, which was over 42-43 degrees Celsius,” Mouskos said.

He added that excluding the last few days, during which an increased level of discomfort was experienced, “we have been experiencing a mild summer with temperatures close to the seasonal average (39C)”.

Mouskos argued, in general, the summer in Cyprus is particularly hot, while mid-July to mid-August is the hottest time of the year.

“Compared to previous summers, we cannot say that this summer is particularly hot or that there’s something that we have not seen before.”

On whether climate change is noticeable in Cyprus, Mouskos said it is not particularly noticeable since the Cyprus summer is dry.

He added that one should examine 20-30 years, not just two or three, to see the climatological trend.

According to Mouskos, this summer is not as responsive to climate change as previous ones, “but that does not mean we have escaped climate change”.

“We should expect higher temperatures for longer periods.”

However, he said, this is not what we are seeing this year.

But the combination of high temperatures and high humidity can cause heatstroke, especially among vulnerable groups.