The average temperature in Zagreb in 2019 was higher than in any previous year, and at the same time the capital of Croatia recorded the lowest number of days with snow cover. This can be seen in Statistical Information 2020 , recently published online by the Central Bureau of Statistics of Croatia.
Data was collected from three measuring points:
- In Maksimir, a district on the east side of the city, which benefits from the freshness provided by a dense oak forest and several lakes, the average air temperature was 11.2°C fifteen years ago. By 2019, it had risen to exactly 13°C.
- On Grič, a hill rising above the very centre of the city, the temperature rose from 12 to 14.2°C in the last fifteen years.
- On Puntijarka, which is located 957 meters above sea level, the air temperature has risen from 6.6 to 8.7°C in the last fifteen years.
We talked about these results with Jagoda Munić, current director of the international organisation Friends of the Earth Europe , and formerly the long-time president of the reputable Zagreb environmental association Zelena akcija (Green Action).
“The data does not surprise me at all and only confirms the forecasts of scientists, who worked on the development of scenarios for the impact of climate change on the climate. So, global warming predictions are coming true, and even faster than projections,” said Munić.
When the data on air temperature from the last fifteen years is compared with the long-term trend, the assessment of Friends of the Earth Europe’s director is even more strongly confirmed. As EDJNet reported, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts finds that Zagreb and its surroundings have almost regularly had at least 8-9 days with an average temperature above 27°C in the last ten years; in the first half of the 20th century there were almost no such days.
Rising air temperatures necessarily lead to the gradual disappearance of snow. In the winter of 2019-20, snow fell only once in Zagreb. Last winter, the Croatian capital was not covered with snow for a single day, so the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (CBS/DZS) data for 2019 actually refers only to the first months of the year. On Grič, the number of snow-covered days has dropped from 16 to only 6 since 2004. In Maksimir, it has also dropped, from 17 to 8. In the future, children from Zagreb will only be able to enjoy scenes of snow-covered Zagreb streets and rooftops by looking at old photos.
Puntijarka, located 957 meters above sea level, near the scene of slalom races organised as part of the World Ski Cup, has recorded a decline in the number of days with snow cover from 95 in 2004 to 71 last year. We asked Jagoda Munić to comment on whether the perspective of the ski complex on Medvednica, whose most glamorous event is the hosting of an international ski competition, is now uncertain with such a climate trend. Is there an ecological justification for holding the World Cup on Sljeme, with mass artificial snowing of trails, and the construction of traffic, sports and accommodation infrastructure?
“Medvednica is very important for the local climate, air quality and flood protection in Zagreb. In the last ten years, forest devastation by felling and uncontrolled traffic of off-road vehicles have significantly worsened the situation. The top part of Medvednica has the greatest pressure due to ski resorts. Green Action warned in the early 2000s that it was better not to build ski resorts on terrains below 1500 meters above sea level. I am afraid that skiing on Sljeme has no