VILNIUS – As a sweltering heatwave continues in Lithuania, scientists say heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.
"It's not a new phenomenon as we've had heatwaves before but due to climate change, they are becoming more frequent and intense," Donatas Valiukas, a climate expert from Vilnius University, told BNS Lithuania on Thursday.
Temperatures are setting new records in Lithuania this week as the mercury pushed over 35 degrees centigrade in some areas on Wednesday. Thundery showers and hail are forecast on Thursday.
"Temperatures exceeding 30 degrees used to be a rare thing. Now it happens practically every year and heatwaves are longer and temperatures are higher," the expert said.
He also noted that the nature of precipitation has also changed as showers are more and more often followed by periods of drought. "The general level of precipitation is growing in Lithuania but it's distributed unevenly as periods of abundant precipitation are followed by longer periods of drought," Valiukas said, adding that climate change is also brining stronger winds, squall and tornadoes.
More frequent weather contrasts raise health risks for people, and climate change increases water pollution, forest fires and negatively affects roads and railways, undermine construction work and damage crops for farmers, Valiukas explained.
Over one hundred people took part in a demonstration in Vilnius last month, demanding that politicians take urgent measures to fight climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.