Tuesday, 10 January 2012

How does Global Warming affect Tenerife?

Wilting Prickly Pear cactus

Global Warming or Climate Change, as it is now often called, though I prefer the former term, is making its presence felt here in Tenerife where clear skies and hot sunshine are drying up the land and causing plants as tough as Prickly Pear cacti to shrivel and wilt.

Wilted and curled up House-leek (Aeonium urbicum

Succulent House-leeks (Aeonium species) which should be at their best now and getting ready to flower or already doing so are suffering the same problem. Many House-leeks are curling up their leaves in an effort to conserve moisture. They should be fleshy and green not reddened and dried up with curling leaves.
Usually by January we have had plenty of torrential rainfall in November and December that falls as snow high up on Mt Teide. Often the mountain's peak is covered in glistening white over the Christmas period and for the months afterwards but not this winter.
Usually in late autumn and winter the countryside springs to live and brown and barren semi-desert land and volcanic mountainsides get covered in green vegetation but not so this season. Ponds, of which there is a great shortage on Tenerife, are drying up not filling up. Those in the village of Erjos that normally fill in winter with enough to last them through until the following autumn's rains are looking more like they do at the end of summer.
So what does all this mean? Well, for tourists the hot sunshine is what they come here for so they will not be complaining but for farmers and for wildlife it is an ecological disaster. Rainfall in autumn and winter is essential for the success of crops and in recent years many farmers have lost their grape crops despite winter rains. Drought in summer is far more to be expected than drought in January!
Tenerife really needs some thunderstorms and as much torrential rain as possible over the rest of this month and February or I dread to think how the island will get through this. Some people still don't believe Global Warming is really happening but I think the state of the countryside in Tenerife shows that it most certainly is!

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

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