Rising temperatures have had devastating effects on the economy and other aspects of life in Greece. Messolonghi Lagoon, Greece – Yiannis Theodoropoulos spends most of his time suspended half a metre above water. The 52-year-old fisherman, his 17-year-old son Alexis, and a hired hand, Thomas, live in a wooden shack on stilts in the middle of the Messolonghi Lagoon, in southwest Greece. Early each morning, Thomas collects nets put out the night before and prises fish out of them, while Yiannis and Alexis take shallow-bottomed boats to see what they have caught in their divari – a half-acre-sized enclosure of wooden poles fitted with netting that traps fish. It is an ingenious method carried out for centuries in Greece’s lagoons. As the tide comes in, fish swim against it to eat incoming nutrients, and fishermen open up gates on the divari’s landward side to catch them. When the tide reverses, they open gates on the seaward side. Theodoropoulos fears that climate change now threatens this way of life. “This year all the fish were held back,” he says. “I think it might be because of the heat, because there hadn’t been a heatwave like this year’s for many years … not since 1997, and the fish were held back then, too.” Greece suffered a series of unprecedented heatwaves last summer, defined as days when the temperature soars above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). “This heatwave was the longest that ever struck our country,” geophysicist Christos Zerefos told Al Jazeera. The 1997 heatwave Theodoropoulos remembers does not even rank as one of the worst. “In 1987 it lasted five days. In 2007 it was six days. And now 11 days. It keeps on increasing,” Zerefos says. Yiannis and Alexis Theodoropoulos, father and son, punt their flat-bottomed boats to harvest fish from their divari, an enclosure that traps them as they swim against the tide [John Psaropoulos/Al Jazeera] The Committee for the Study of the Effects of Climate Change, which Zerefos leads, predicted in 2011 that Greece will experience 35-40 more days of heatwaves each year by the end of the century. Agriculture and fishing will suffer more than other sectors, the committee’s report found. In a no-action scenario, annual gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by 2 percent in 2050 and by 6 percent in 2100, amounting to an overall cost of 701 billion euros ($814bn) in 2008 prices – three and a half times the country’s GDP. Data compiled for this report by the Athens Observatory confirm that temperatures are already rising. The observatory’s weather-monitoring station in Agrinio, 30km (19 miles) north of Mesolonghi, found that in the last 30 years average annual temperatures have risen nearly 2C (3.6F) to just below 22C (71.6F). The impact of climate change is already apparent on Theodoropoulos’s livelihood. He rents the hut and divari from the local prefecture for 12,000 euros ($14,000) a year. This year business was so bad he had to sell a boat to help pay the rent. “I sold the boat for 2,800 euros [$3,235],” he says. “It cost me more than 9,000 euros ($10,400) to build. But I was forced to.” Yiannis Theodoropoulos sets out to visit his fish traps [John Psaropoulos/Al Jazeera] The prefecture is in theory responsible for the upkeep of the hut as part of the rental agreement, but in practice, it does not bother, says Theodoropoulos. During October, Greece experienced two waves of storms that severely weakened the hut. On one side, its wraparound deck has collapsed. “I went to the prefecture and told them about the damage done by the last storm, and they said, ‘fix it yourself’. How? Do I have that much money?” says Theodoropoulos, who already pays 5,000 euros ($5,800) a year to renew the wooden poles of the divari. “These decks are all rotten beneath. If we have another bout of bad weather, we’ll all float away.” The changing climate bodes ill not only for the numbers of fish that enter the lagoon, but also for its waters, which are the key to its biodiversity. Brackish lagoons such as those of Mesolongi and neighbouring Aitoli . . . read the full article here.