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Poland - Climate

With 2017 set to be among the hottest years on record, Europe's extreme-weather summer may be a taste of the new normal. More storms were forecast 12 August 2017 after unusually high temperatures for Poland that reached 35 to 38 degrees Celcius (95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Rescuers in northern Poland said they had to force their way through "kilometers" of fallen trees in the Tuchola Forest to reach the site of tragedy. The regional crisis center in Danzig said at least 170,000 people had been left without power and 800 buildings had been damaged across Poland's north and west. News agencies put the number of outages at 340,000 households.

A week after storms passed through northern Poland, 3,500 homes remained without power. It took three days for government officials to turn their attention to storm victims. Six people were killed, and 4,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, along with tens of thousands of trees. Until the Polish army arrived, local fire departments were left alone to conduct relief operations. The government's delayed reaction and inability to restore power to homes became political issues.

The most vulnerable regions to climate change in Europe include South-eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Central Europe, where both natural and economic systems are influenced by climate change as well as changes in earths surface utilization. The most vulnerable are mountain areas, coastal zones and wetlands. However, Northern Europe and some parts of Western Europe can benefit from climate change, particularly the agriculture areas.

Polish climate is characterized by high variability of weather and significant fluctuations in the course of the seasons in consecutive years. The warmest region of Poland is south western part (Silesian Lowland, western part of the Sandomierz Basin and South Greater Poland (Wielkopolska) Lowland) and the coldest is north-eastern part of the country and mountain areas.

The biggest influence on climatic conditions have extreme phenomena which present increase in the number of occurrences, noticeable change the dynamic of the climate nature in Poland. There is a serious intensification of weather phenomena, such as drought, hurricane-force winds, tornadoes and hail.

Since 2005, Poland has experienced 11 hurricanes. The most vulnerable to hurricane-force winds are the following regions of Poland: central and eastern part of the Embankment Slowinski from Koszalin to the Rozewie Cape and the Peninsula Hel, also a wide latitudinal zone of the north of Poland, upto the Suwalki region, Silesian Beskid, Beskid Zywiec, Silesia, Dynowskie and Podhale Foothills, the central part of Poland including the Mazowsze and eastern part the Greater Poland (Wielkopolska).

During the summer months from June to August, there are found whirlwinds in the country, usually at noon. In Poland a systematic increase in incidence of this phenomenon has been noticed.

The results of tornadoes monitoring indicate that these phenomena occur more frequently in the region of Malopolska Upland and Lublin reaching a wide zone of the SW NE through the highlands of Kutno, Mazovia and Podlasie to the Mazury Lake District.

In the eastern Poland, the rainless period has prolonged up to 5 days per decade. This is a region of the country, which was the most frequently plagued by drought at this time of the year. Since the beginning of twenty-first century, droughts have occurred nine times at different times of the year.

Heat waves are the thermal phenomena which has adverse and harmful effect to the environment and also to the public (sequences of days with maximum daily air temperature = 30 C lasting for at least three days) and hot days (Tmax = 30 C), the most common in the region of south western part of Poland and the least, in the coastal and mountains regions with the longest string of hot days lasting = 17 days (Nowy Sacz, Opole, Racibrz).

On the biggest part of Poland the downward trend in the number of cold days and very cold is recently observed (days with minimum temperature = -10 C and days with maximum temperature = 10 C, respectively).

Precipitation is dependent on topographic features. Average rainfall in Poland is around 600 mm. The precipitation varies from less than 500 mm in the central part of the Poland to almost 800 mm on the coast and more than 1,000 mm in the Tatra mountains. The highest precipitation is during the summer months and is 2 3 higher than in the winter (in the Carpathians mountains even four times higher).

Snowfall average from 15 to 20% of the total annual precipitation and occurs from November to April, in the mountains from September and in the Tatras also appears occasionally during summer months.

In most of Polish areas is observed an increase in the number of days per decade with high intensity heavy rainfall occurrences.

The climate in Poland is determined mainly by the country's geographical location and geography. Poland is in the temperate latitudes, where maritime air from the North Atlantic and continental air from the east converge, causing frequent day-to-day and year-to-year variability in the weather patterns.

Poland's long-term and short-term weather patterns are made transitional and variable by the collision of diverse air masses above the country's surface. Maritime air moves across Western Europe, Arctic air sweeps down from the North Atlantic, and subtropical air arrives from the South Atlantic. Although the Arctic air dominates for much of the year, its conjunction with warmer currents generally moderates temperatures and generates considerable precipitation, clouds, and fog. When the moderating influences are lacking, winter temperatures in mountain valleys may drop to -40C.

The average annual temperature in Poland is about 8'C/46'F and varies for the regions of Poland depending on height above sea level and distance from the Baltic Sea. In the summer, for instance, temperatures are lower in northern Poland because of the Baltic Sea. The lowest temperatures are in the mountains and the highest are in western and central Poland.

Poland sees an average annual rainfall of 600 millimeters. The highest precipitation is in the mountains and uplands and the lowest occurs in the central, lowland areas of Poland. On the average, precipitation in summer is twice that in winter.

Spring arrives slowly in April, bringing mainly sunny days after a period of alternating wintry and springlike conditions.

Summer, which extends from June to August, is generally less humid than winter. In the summer months of June, July and August, showers alternate with dry, sunny weather and the temperature averages about 18'C/64'F; the maximum summer temperature is 40'C/104'F. Showers alternate with dry sunny weather that is generated when southern winds prevail.

Distribution of temperature in the summer is parallel, the value decreases from south to north, with the exception of mountainous areas, from above 18.5 C, the Silesian Lowland, in the south of Poland and the Sandomierz Basin, to 16.5 C in the Kashubian Lake District.

Early autumn is generally sunny and warm before a period of rainy, colder weather in November begins the transition into winter.

Winter, which may last one to three months, brings frequent snowstorms but relatively low total precipitation. The average temperature in January is about -4'C/25'F but it can fall as low as -35'C/-31'F. In the winter temperature decreases from west to east: isotherms of meridian system exceeds a value of 0 C in the west, dropping to below -3 C in the east (especially Suwalskie Lake District) while the lowest values were noticed in the mountains (- 8.4 C for Mount Kasprowy, -7.3 C on Snow White). Number of frosty days (maximum temperature below 0 C) occur between November and March and increases from the west of Poland (less than 20 days a year on the lower Oder River and along the coast) to the north (the stairs for more than 50 days in the Suwalki Lake District mountains to 129 for Sniezka Mountain and the 146 on Kasprowy Wierch).

The range of mean temperatures is 6C in the northeast to 8C in the southwest, but individual readings in Poland's regions vary widely by season. On the highest mountain peaks, the mean temperature is below 0C. The Baltic coast, influenced by moderating west winds, has cooler summers and warmer winters. The other temperature extreme is in the southeast along the border with Ukraine, where the greatest seasonal differences occur and winter temperatures average 4.5C below those in western Poland. The growing season is about forty days longer in the southwest than in the northeast, where spring arrives latest.

Average annual precipitation for the whole country is 600 millimeters, but isolated mountain locations receive as much as 1,300 millimeters per year. The total is slightly higher in the southern uplands than in the central plains. A few areas, notably along the Vistula between Warsaw and the Baltic and in the far northwest, average less than 500 millimeters. In winter about half the precipitation in the lowlands and the entire amount in the mountains falls as snow. On the average, precipitation in summer is twice that in winter, providing a dependable supply of water for crops.

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Page last modified: 14-12-2017 17:03:31 ZULU