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Winter in Israel will never be the same, but no one is ready for it

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Outside on November 11, the sun is shining brightly outside the window, the air temperature allows you to sunbathe on the beach, and the water temperature allows you to swim in the sea. Facebook reminds that at this time of year in Israel it should already be cold and rainy – but no, it is not, which once again proves the correctness of scientists who predicted dry winters with short but strong storms.

The results of the study, led by Dr. Efrat Schaeffer of the Hebrew University’s Department of Food, Agriculture and Environment, show that over 45 years (1975 to 2020), the annual rainfall has not changed, but there is a trend towards a decrease in the number of rainy days, and also to shorten the rainy season.

According to Dr. Schaeffer, the current daily rainfall on rainy days is greater than in the past, that most rainy days are concentrated in the middle of the season (December to February), and the amount of rainfall at the end of the season has decreased. This change is expressed in winter storms with heavy rainfall, falling in one to two days. In recent years, similar phenomena have been observed in Israel.

In addition, the study found that most of the annual rainfall occurs in mid-winter, with less rainfall in fall and spring, leading to a lengthening of the dry season.

Another study, published in the journal Climate Dynamics, predicts warm, dry winters for Israel, with storms of unprecedented strength. Scientists have found that the frequency of rainfall in the Mediterranean will decrease by about 30%, and the strength of the wind will decrease, leading to so-called slow storms. A similar phenomenon has already been encountered in Europe: it was the slow storms that caused heavy downpours and floods in Germany, the Netherlands and other countries.

Israeli farmers are already experiencing climate change to the full. Published a week ago, the Auditor General’s report highlighted the impact of the climate crisis and global warming on the government’s ability to provide food.

According to the summarized data for the summer season of 2021 published by the Insurance Fund for Natural Disasters in Agriculture (KANAT), about 205 million shekels were paid to Israeli farmers during April-October 2021, of which more than 100 million were paid for losses caused by crop failures. KANAT notes that most of the damage was caused by the relatively warm winter. Yields have dropped sharply and farmers have been paid a record 20-year compensation.

Shmuel Turjeman, CEO of KANAT, commenting on the report, said: “If in the past agricultural crops suffered most during the winter months and mainly as a result of cold weather, then last year we witnessed a warm winter, which led to a sharp decline in fruit yields. Heat waves, which were relatively rare in the past, have become the norm in recent years. ”

As for the preparation of cities and towns to overcome the consequences of the climate crisis, the Israeli government has completely shifted this problem onto the shoulders of the municipal authorities. Work is underway in rich settlements, but their number can literally be counted on one hand. Residents of the rest hope for the best.

Photo: Moti Milrod, nep.detaly.co.il The picture shows the flooding of streets in Tel Aviv.

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