Last month was one of Israel's three warmest Aprils over the past 70 years, another sign of the country's accelerated warming trend, the Israel Meteorological Service said this week.
April was 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 30-year average for the month, according to data released Sunday. March was Israel's coldest March in the last century.
The difference between March and April reached 10 to 13 degrees Celsius, the largest gap between the two months since Israel began accurately recording temperatures 70 years ago.
Last year was one of the hottest in Israel since the 1950s, and the past decade was the hottest ever.
Israel, with a warming rate twice the global average, is considered among the countries especially vulnerable to global warming and climate change. The world has warmed up by 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1850, with Israel up 1.5 degrees since 1950.
Israel's warming rate is three times as high as it was a few decades ago, and by the middle of this century most Israeli cities are expected to suffer heat waves with temperatures topping 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 Fahrenheit).
“The clear trend over the years is a continuation of the warming, with all its implications,” said Amir Givati, an expert on climate change at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Environmental Studies.
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This week's figures also don't bode well for this summer.
“A cold and rainy March followed by a dry and hot April has a dramatic effect on the potential for fire this summer," Givati said. The long winter that lasted until the end of March led to the growth of surplus vegetation in open areas.”
Temperatures in Israel are forecast to rise about 4 degrees by the end of the century, with precipitation falling 10 percent to 20 percent.
The number of extreme weather events such as heat waves, flooding and severe thunderstorms is expected to increase, with the sea level rising 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) annually, according to data from the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Israel Meteorological Service and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute.