by Lois Jones

AT the end of this century, the Balearic islands will experience a light increase in rainfall. This forecast has been made as a result of a study carried out on the prediction of rainfall in the Mediterranean basin in a hundred years' time. The research has been conducted by investigators from the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB)
The work, based on information gathered by the University, uses data relating to the past 30 years. It reveals that in the coming century there will be relatively important changes in the weather patterns. Apart from helping in the planning of water resources, the information contained in the project entitled “Frequency and Intensity of Heavy Rainfall in the Area of the Spanish Mediterranean in an Altered Climate” could also be useful for insurance companies and farmers' associations. Researchers predicted a light increase in rainfall in Eastern Spain, but adversely, they reported a marked decrease in the region of Andalucia, above all in the western section of the province and the Pyrenees mountains. Overall, the report predicted lower rainfall levels in the Mediterranean although small increases will be sustained in very specific areas, including the Balearics. The study develops the forecasting of rainfall in the Spanish Mediterranean basin “in a more specific and more detailed form, in contrast to current climatic models that have little detail and only give general information” said Climent Ramis, the project's chief researcher. According to Ramis, the growth in rainfall levels in areas such as Alicante and Almería “could be as much as 15 or 20 percent” which would mean an annual increase of 30 or 40 millimetres. This project has focussed on determining whether or not at the end of this century there will be alterations to the pattern of heavy rainfall in the Spanish Mediterranean. Currently in this zone, rainfall is recorded as being of a heavy or sharp nature that intensifies at the end of summer and during the autumn. It periodically measures 400 litres a square metre within a space of 24 hours. Ramis believes rapid change is coming about due to the chemical make-up of the atmosphere, which has unleashed an increase in temperature.

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