The torrential rains which have swamped and flooded the Balearics, and other parts of the Mediterranean over the past year, are the result of rising global temperatures. President of the Spanish Climatological Association, Javier Martín-Vide, said in Palma yesterday that water is becoming an increasingly important element in Spain as droughts are becoming far more frequent and are lasting longer. Javier Martín-Vide said that more torrential downpours as opposed to persistent rainfall has become a new meteorological characteristic in the Mediterranean and has got to be addressed by governments, which in turn have to decide how best to handle and manage torrential rainfall. However, Martín-Vide does not believe that the unseasonal and violent storms which have hit the Balearics and Spain's Mediterranean coast over the past year, are not related, for the time being, to global warming. Nevertheless, over the past century, average global temperatures have risen by 0.5ºC, which in turn over the next 20, 30 or 50 years will lead to less frequent but more intense rainfall in the Mediterranean. Martín-Vide said that governments have to realise that poor and irresponsible land use, construction on old river beds and artificial drainage systems only serve to make the impact of torrential rains and the infamous gota fria cold snap in the Balearics worse. He added that as global temperatures will continue to rise, adequate infrastructure needs to be built to prevent the potential danger caused by the changing climate. Granted, the change will be slow the 27'000 hours of sun enjoyed in Majorca every year will not be lost, he said, adding that this summer's weather pattern was highly unusual and that next summer should be much calmer and as normal. Martín-Vide was in Palma to open the Association's third congress which is being held this year at the Balearic University. The three-day conference, organised in association with the national met. office, the university's land science department, the local government and Council of Majorca, will touch on a number of topical climatological issues such as water in the atmosphere, how oceans regulate the climate and the relation between climate and water resources.