* Current climate of Kosovo and Sharr Mountains
While Kosovo has a predominantly mid-continental climate (cold Winter and warm Summer), and the Dukagjini plain, occupying most of central Kosovo territory has a mild Adriatic-Mediterranean climate, the Sharr Mountains National Park is dominated by alpine and continental climate, influenced by the other climates of the region which encourage the gathering of different species and habitats in a same place.
The average precipitation in Kosovo varies from 600mm in Eastern plain to 1300mm in Western forests; while the meteorological station in Brezovica (the only one present in the National Park of Sharr Mountains) at 860m above sea level recorded since 1949 precipitations between 670mm and 1200mm. Another meteorological station is present in Jazhinca, which is in the Macedonian side of Sharr Mountains, at 950m asl. Both of these stations recorded an average relative humidity of 67-70%, similar to the average humidity in United Kingdom.
The average temperatures in Kosovo goes from -27° in Winter to +39° in Summer, even though the Brezovica station recorded in 1963 an extreme temperature of -33°. The coldest month in Sharr Mountains is January, with an average temperature around 0°, while the yearly average temperature varies from 18° to 20°.
* Climate changes in the past and the next decades
Since the 1960’s, the temperatures in Kosovo are rising. We already have between 220 and 280 sunny days per year in Brezovica, and the regional warming is higher than the world average and will continue in the next decades.
Snow levels in Sharr Mountains reached up to 3 meters in 1956. In 1981, 108 snowing days were recorded in Shtërpcë/Štrpce, which is the higher amount since the creation of the meteorological station in Sharr Mountain. By 2050, a decline of 50 days of snow is predicted because of temperature rising.
Since the 1980’s, we attend to an increase in intensity and frequency of extreme precipitations. The current tendency is a precipitation decrease in Summer and increase in Mountains during winter, causing more spring floods. In the other hand, droughts became more and more common in the past decades, with as a consequence since 2000, an increase of forest fires, including forest fires in 2011 and in 2012 in Sharr.
* Impact of climate changes
The climate change impacts many other sectors.
About water resources, because of higher temperatures, lower precipitation and population growth, 4 out of 5 Kosovo water basins may become water-stressed by 2050, the flood risks are increased because of the extreme precipitations, and the water quality decreases because of polluants in streams and lack of groundwater.
About agriculture, the production tends to be decreased because of climate changes, the water demand for irrigation will also increase, particularly during summer. Kosovo remains the largest net importer per capita in Europe and may struggle with more challenges in the future.