A sign of the times: Greece covered in snow • Earth.com

A sign of the times: Greece covered in snow

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features a blanket of heavy snowfall over Greece. The photograph was captured in early February by ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer from the International Space Station. The image is focused on the town of Chalcis, along the Euboean Gulf.

Snowstorm events are rare in Greece, yet this is the second year in a row that the region has received significant snowfall. 

When Storm Elpida swept over the country in late January, even the islands of Mykonos and Santorini got snow. The storm caused widespread disruption to travel and damage to infrastructure in major cities across Greece and Turkey.

In the Greek capital city of Athens, thousands of people were stranded in their cars overnight. Rescue crews evacuated more than 3,500 people, who left behind more than a thousand cars stranded on the motorway.

Storm Elpida even triggered a “snownado,” an extremely rare event with a whirling column of snow particles (or a snow funnel) being raised from the ground.

The shocking snowstorm is just another example of how the climate is changing in Greece and around the world. Scientists spoke out about a “grim climate future” for Greece after wildfires ravaged 247,000 acres of forest in the summer of 2021.

The fires, which devastated farmers and displaced entire villages, were caused by a prolonged heatwave that essentially ignited pine straw.

Going forward, the experts warn of a future Greece with lower rainfall, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts, along with dire environmental and economic consequences. 

Image Credit: ESA 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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