Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER VI.

THE CLIMATE OF CYPRUS.

To obtain an accurate knowledge of the climate of our new possession, is naturally a matter of the highest importance, in order that the proper sanitary measures may be adopted to ensure the health of the British garrison and the inhabitants generally. The first reports which were circulated when the occupation of the island by England was announced, although conflicting, were, on the whole, unfavourable ; but later and more reliable information tends to show that whilst certain severs are very prevalent during the hot months, they are generally of a mild type, and that the acknowledged unhealthiness of certain towns and districts is not really attributable to the climate, but rather to local insanitary conditions, all of which are capable of removal, and indeed there is little doubt that many of the sinister reports concerning the general unhealthiness of the island are much exaggerated. The health statistics of the troops during the first few months of the occupation cannot be accepted as a fair criterion of what may be expected in future summers, for the present conditions of service are peculiarly trying, in consequence of the amount of extra work and exposure involved in the disembarkation, the first occupation of the island, and the want of suitable accommodation; but even under these exceptional circumstances the cases of illness are nearly all recognized as ephemeral fever, due to exposure to solar heat, and, as the name implies, of but short duration.

To arrive at a correct conclusion regarding the climate of Cyprus, not only must the atmospheric conditions which affect health be considered, but also the numerous and various causes of unhealthiness which inevitably result from the existence of marshes, scarcity of water, imperfect drainage, and the absence of trees.

On the first subject, the climatological aspect of Cyprus, some valuable information has been kindly supplied by Alexander Buchan, Esq., Secretary of the Scottish Meteorological Society, who writes as follows:—

“Between the years 1863 and 1867, the Scottish Meteorological Society established various Climatological Stations in different parts of Europe, with the view of collecting trustworthy informa: tion concerning the climates of places which might be recognized as Sanataria. Four such stations were established, viz., at Jerusalem, Beyrout and Damascus in Syria, and at Larnaca in Cyprus, mainly through the instrumentality of the late Dr. Keith Johnston, at that time the Society's Honorary Secretary, whilst on an eastern tour in the spring of 1863. Admiral Fitzroy most cordially cooperated with the Council in this matter, and secured sets of the best instruments for the observers from the Board of Trade. The observer at Larnaca was Thomas B. Sandwith, Esq., H.M.'s ViceConsul for Cyprus, who was supplied by the Board of Trade, through this Society with a barometer, six common thermometers, one maximum, and one minimum thermometer, and a rain gauge. The observations commenced in October 1866, and were continued with a few interruptions for about four years, or till about the time Mr. Sandwith left Larnaca. The results were published from time to time in the Society's Journal “The following tables give a condensed résumé of these four years' observations, particularly as regards their climatological Aspects, and it is believed that no other meteorological data exist which can throw a better light on the climate of Cyprus.”

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Temperature.

“The mean annual temperature is 66°6. The coldest month is February, with a mean temperature of 52°8, which is all but identical with the temperature of London during May; and the hottest month is August, with a mean temperature of 81°5, being closely approximate to the summer temperature of Algiers, Alexandria, Athens, and Constantinople.

* “The mean temperature for the six months from November to April varies between 52°8 and 60°9; and since between these mean temperatures, deaths from diseases of the respiratory organs, and from bowel complaints are either at a minimum or are comparatively small, it may safely be stated that, so far as atmospheric temperature is concerned, the climate of Cyprus is exceptionally good during these six months. Indeed it is highly robable that several situations round the coasts of Cyprus will be É. with winter climates so good, and for a large class of invalids so safe, that they will take rank above the best Sanataria of the Mediterranean. It will be observed that the lowest recorded temperature during these four years was 36°1 which occurred in February 1870; and an examination of the observations themselves makes it clear that the temperature rarely falls below 40°0. This is an invaluable feature in the climate of any Sanatarium, when the evil effects on the weak of the occasional occurrence of low temperatures and the discomfort and positive injuriousness to the health arising from all temperatures between the maximum

density of fresh water (39°2) and its freezing point (32°0), are

taken into consideration.
“On the other hand, the temperature of the six months from
May to October is very high, being from 68°1 to 81°5. This high
summer temperature Cyprus has in common with the coasts of
Algeria, the south of Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor, in all which
regions a still higher temperature prevails on advancing from the
coast inland. At Bagdad, for example, the mean summer tempera-
ture rises to 95°0. The prolongation of the summer heat into
September, and on frequent occasions into October, is a striking
feature of the climates of Syria and adjoining regions.
“If we except June 1869, the highest recorded temperature
was 96° 0 in August 1869, a temperature of 94°3 having also been
noted in July of the same year—temperatures which are of frequent
occurrence on the Continent, and even in London, as high tempera-
tures have occurred. A period of extraordinarily high tempera-
ture occurred in the East from the 21st to the 25th of June, 1869.
The means at Alethriko for these five days were at—

[ocr errors]

This mean temperature of 95°5 is about the summer temperature of the Punjab. The maximum heat was 105° on the 24th, and on the same day the temperature rose to 100°0 at Larnaka on the coast, 92°5 at Beyrout, and 103°5 at Jerusalem, at a height of

2,500 feet above the sea. These five days were characterised by
the observers as one of unprecedented heat and drought over the
regions bordering the Levant.
“The differences between the highest and the lowest observed
temperatures of the months for the four years which are about
30°0, show that the climate of Cyprus has a character decidedly
insular and therefore very equable, and this insular character is
still further shown in the fact that the period of greatest annual
cold is delayed to February, and the greatest heat to August.”
“The mean annual rainfall is 1280 inches, nearly the whole of
which falls during the cool season from November to April. Since
the rain which falls in May and September is trifling in amount
and of rare occurrence, it may be considered that there are
practically five rainless months in the year in Cyprus. The whole
of the regions about the Levant are equally characterised by rain-
less summers, the only exceptions being the higher mountainous
regions where thunderstorins and heavy thunder showers are of occa-
sional occurrence. It will be seen from the monthly extremes, that
the rainfall varies greatly from year to year. In the cool months
of 1867–68, there fell 15-98 inches of rain, whereas in the corre-
sponding months of 1869–70, there fell only 6-65 inches. Very
heavy falls occur: thus on November 27th, 1866, there fell in
three hours and a-half, 407 inches of rain, and among the heavy
thunder-showers may be noted 0.50 inch at Larnaka in one hour
from 3 to 4 P.M. of June 30th, 1869. This heavy, short continued
shower, as well as the high temperatures of the week preceding,
were exceptional weather phenomena at Larnaka.”
“The state of the barometer and the winds connect the
meteorology of Cyprus with that of Central Asia where atmo-
spheric pressure is very high in winter and very low in summer.
In summer, the prevailing westerly winds of the Levant, with the
cloudless rainless skies accompanying them, are only part of the
extensive atmospheric current which sets in at this season towards
the region of low atmospheric pressure in Asia, and the breadth
swept by this atmospheric current before reaching Cyprus, doubt-
less mitigates in some degree the heat of summer.

“The winter climate of Cyprus extending from November to April is exceptionally good for two reasons. Its mean temperature ranges from 52°8 to 60°9, being the limits of temperature between which deaths from diseases of the respiratory organs, and from bowel complaints are either at the minimum or comparatively small. Secondly, the lowest temperature noted during four years was 36°-1, and as the temperature seldom falls below 40°0; it follows that the winter climate of Cyprus is singularly free from the discomfort and positive injuriousness to the health inseparable from temperatures ranging from 40-0 to 32°0 and lower. Since, owing to their exposure to the cold dry winds of the mistral, and to other causes, the winter climates of North Italy, South France, Spain, and Algiers are characterised by the occasional occurrence of lower temperatures, and by a more fluctuating temperature than that of

Rainfall.

Barometer and Winds.

General conclusions of the Scottish Meteorological Society.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »