How does climate change impact Slovakia?

Warmer and drier weather makes insurance policies more expensive

Around 40 cars were damaged or completely destroyed in Vrátna Dolina valley during a torrential rain in 2014.Around 40 cars were damaged or completely destroyed in Vrátna Dolina valley during a torrential rain in 2014. (Source: SITA)

After a longer period of time most of Slovakia experienced continuous rain earlier this week while meteorologists forecast the rainy weather to continue in the following days. The temperature dropped too, when the decline was as much as approximately 10 degrees Celsius. Climatologists see this only as a return to normal since Slovakia experienced a record warm and dry April caused by climate change.

“Climate change also affects Slovakia,” said climatologist Jozef Pecho from the Slovak Hydro-Meteorological Office (SHMÚ), adding that the faster arrival of spring, a longer and hotter summer and more hydro-meteorological extremes like heat waves, drought, storms, windstorms or torrential rain and fires will be more common.

Already now insurance protection is too expensive for some people and companies is too expensive and thus inaccessible due to climate change.

"In the future the price of insurance policies will be even higher and there will be more groups of people, sectors and localities in Slovakia for which insurance policies will be inaccessible due to more frequent weather extremes," said Daniel Vida, deputy chairman of the board of directors of the insurance company Poštová Poisťovňa.

Increasing temperatures

The most significant demonstration of climate change’s impacts is the increasing temperature. The average global temperature has increased by almost 1 degree Celsius since the beginning of the 20th century. However, central Europe, including Slovakia ,reports an almost double warming. For example, the average annual temperature in Bratislava and its vicinity has increased by almost 2 degrees Celsius since 1951.

Read also:April was unusually warm in Slovakia, breaking 84-year records Read more 

“One of the main reasons is that this is an inland region, which in general has a tendency to be warmer, but the more significant reason is that it is in the northern hemisphere with a higher concentration of CO2,” explained Pecho.

Climatologists expect a further increase of average temperatures. Based on climatic models they forecast that it will increase by 0.8-0.9 degrees by 2025, 2-2.5 degrees by 2052 and by 3.5-4 degrees by 2100.

In Slovakia this will mean the faster arrival of a warm and dry summer in the spring, the increase of daily maximum and minimum temperatures and a significant increase of summer and tropical days as well as a drop in the number of days with freezing temperatures.

“Inhabitants of Slovakia have to count on an increase in the intensity and duration of heat waves,” said Pecho. “These waves can come already in May and will be not rare even in mid-September.”

Due to the higher water content in the atmosphere the number of days with close weather is expected to increase, too. As a consequence, climatologists are expecting more frequent and more intensive storms as well as torrential rains, representing a serious risk for human activities.

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