Changes in climatic patterns and tourism and their concomitant effect on drinking water transfers into the region of South Aegean, Greece

Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess. 2021;35(9):1725-1739. doi: 10.1007/s00477-021-02015-y. Epub 2021 Apr 8.


Global warming is already having a negative impact on vital sectors on which human development depends, such as water resource availability. In this study, the changes and abrupt change timing of climatic extreme indices, aridity and drought over the Region of South Aegean are captured using the Mann-Kendall and Pettitt tests, while the latter variables are correlated with the water volume transported by ships to the region as well as the relevant costs. The region's climate is shifting to warmer conditions with less precipitation, since significantly positive trends were noted with regard to the number of tropical nights, warm nights, warm days, the warm spell duration index and the diurnal temperature range; significant negative trends were observed in relation to the number of cool nights, cool days and the cold spell duration index, with the change-point year for the latter variables being 2006. Inaddition, 7/11 precipitation related indices exhibited a downward trend, while significantly negative trends were observed with regard to the number of consecutive dry days, with the timing of the abrupt change being 2001. The Aridity Index (AI) reveals that the region's climate characterization is changing from dry and sub-humid to semi-arid conditions, whilst the Reconnaissance Drought Index standardized (RDIst) and the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) indices suggests an amplification of drought phenomena over the Region. The tourism variables illustrated a significant positive trend, with the timing of the abrupt change being registered during 2006-2009, whilst the correlation analysis between tourism variables and water transfers implies that the surge on water transfer by ships to the Region occurred between 1998 and 2008. This can be mainly attributed to the changes in climate patterns. The correlation analysis documents a strong positive correlation between the water transfer dataset and the diurnal temperature range, and a moderately negative association with the precipitation related indices, annual precipitation, drought phenomena and aridity with 7/11.

Keywords: Aridity index; Eastern Mediterranean; Mann–Kendall test; Precipitation indices; RClimDex; RDIst index; SPI index; Temperature indices; Water transfers.