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Climate change could turn Baltic region into one of Europe's most popular tourism destinations – meteorologist

02.08.2012

Due to climate change, the British islands, as well as the Baltic Sea region, could become one of Europe's most popular tourism destinations, Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center chief meteorologist Andris Viksna said in an interview to the magazine ''Lietiska Diena''.

Due to climate change, the British islands, as well as the Baltic Sea region, could become one of Europe's most popular tourism destinations, Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center chief meteorologist Andris Viksna said in an interview to the magazine ''Lietiska Diena''.

''First of all, we must admit that the climate is really changing. These changes have created various effects in different regions. Some areas are seeing more flooding, while others cooler temperatures than usual. There are separate areas in the world where the weather has become much dryer, and this gives us reason to believe that changes are taking place,'' Viksna said.

At the same time, Northern Europe, including Latvia, is seeing an increase in its average temperatures. This is especially true during the winter, as the period of snow cover is becoming shorter, but the amount of snow has remained about the same.

Viksna pointed out that this is not good news for winter sports enthusiasts, as stable snow cover in the country will become less and less. ''Snow will not become a rarity, but there will be less snow cover, especially in Kurzeme Province and other regions closer to the sea,'' Viksna added.

''In this context, we should also look at the expected climate change in such countries as Italy, Greece and the Southern European region as a whole. I do not want to say that this region of the world will become inhabitable, but it is already witnessing problems with drinking water. The climate in this region will only become hotter and dryer. As a result, the British Isles and the Baltic Sea region could become one of Europe's most popular tourism destinations,'' the meteorologist added.

The expert predict that these Europe-wide changes could take place ''within the next twenty years''.

''I think that the time has come for our tourism industry to prepare for this. We already have very unique nature, but we are not utilizing this potential. Our resources are substantially larger than many other countries, and the expected climate changes will bring more perspectives for our tourism industry,'' Viksna said.

When temperatures become dryer and hotter, larger cities in such countries as Italy, Portugal and Spain do not have enough water to meet demand. ''Latvia is in an ideal situation in this regard, as we have high quality drinking water almost everywhere,'' the meteorologist added.

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