Long-term increase in climatic dryness in the East-Mediterranean as evidenced for the island of Samos
The Eastern Mediterranean region is among the regions which were predicted to become drier under IPCC climate scenarios. Here, we document a gradual reduction of rainfall and tree growth and the loss of rural springs during the last decades of the twentieth century. Years with severe drought are associated with very low tree growth (dendrochronology) and dry falling of springs as evidenced by interviews with local stakeholders. The paper discusses the consequences of accelerating drought on natural vegetation and agriculture and points at the interaction with fire dynamics and economy, both likely to enhance the drought effect.