Mediterranean Episode - Following the violent storms on the Côte d'Azur this weekend which killed four people several questions have arisen on the frequency and violence of these storms. Global warming, experts have noted a shift in heavy rainfall, from mid-October to mid-December.
The departments of Alpes-Maritimes and Var were affected by torrential rain. The whole area was placed on a red alert by Météo France on Saturday and the sirens were sounded in Nice warning residents to stay at home.
What weather experts call "the Mediterranean episode" is a typical occurrence at this time of year in the region, with some forecasters calling it "the Mediterranean monsoon".
In some places of the Var, the equivalent of two to three months of rain fell in 24 to 48 hours. In total, firefighters from the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes made some 2,000 interventions including 171 helicopter rescue operations.
Météo France have carried out a climate study in the south of France from 1961 to 2015 showing that these Mediterranean episodes will become more and more frequent and intense.
Stating that in 50 years, the global temperature has increased by 1.7 ° C, the Mediterranean episodes have increased by 22% and the frequency of heavy rainfall has doubled over this period.
According to the specialists, whatever the scenarios envisaged by 2050, whether due to the release of CO2 in the atmosphere is controlled or not, the process of global warming will lead to an increase in the phenomena.
Another point is urbanisation which prevents water from being naturally absorbed by the earth. One spokesperson for Meteo france added that "due to urbanization we inevitably have floods in areas that we did not have ten years ago".