Extreme weather threatens Turkey amid climate change fears

Extreme weather threatens Turkey amid climate change fears

As the world grapples with the climate change phenomenon, Turkey is already dealing with its consequences. Rıfat Ünal Sayman, the country's director for the Regional Environment Center, an international organization coordinating response to environmental issues, warned that extreme weather cases are on the rise in Turkey. He explained that extreme weather cases were limited to 400 yearly in the past but it has escalated to over 1,000 in recent years.

"There were 1,313 reported extreme weather cases in 2016," Sayman said. "In 2010 there were 1,600 cases."

He warned that an average 1,000 cases occur every year. But it is not about numbers only, their impact is growing as well. "Dry seasons will be drier, heatwaves will be hotter and cold waves will be colder," the director said.

Last year was the country's driest year in decades and a lengthy spell of rain only ended a few days ago in most parts of Turkey. Experts say the country's climate has changed to "semi-mild." Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Sayman said Turkey is located in a very fragile region in terms of climate change and open to risks. "Considering data accumulated since 1971, we see a rising trend in extreme weather incidents. It increased especially after 1996," he said. Sayman said that experts are also concerned with flash floods that hit the capital Ankara this year to the Black Sea that has been rainy all year round as well as Istanbul, which is known for its moderate weather. He explained that these events are not directly related to climate change but it increases their frequency and impact. According to Sayman, the energy sector is at the heart of emissions that affects climate change and Turkey needs to increase share of renewable energy in the sector as well as doing more in energy saving and efficiency.

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