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Water water and more water

Water enough this year ! Thank you ‘retour d’est’!

Last year our 'climate' resembled more or less to the northern-African Marrakech climate but this year it resembles more to that of the Netherlands...

I made a little overview of the rainfall in different places in Corsica, as well as Amsterdam, to put Corsica’s context in perspective.

I know that many people do not know their average yearly rainfall so to remind you: in a village like Piedicroce in the heart of Castagniccia, the average rainfall should be somewhere around 900-1200 mm (hard to find a single value because the weather station used to make this table is active only since last year).

The other weather station close to Campile is next to the Poretta airport. Strikingly, this one has an average rainfall of 799 mm per year (which is not far from the average rainfall in Amsterdam (around 900 mm)! Normally, what we observe in Corsica, is a very reliable positive relationship between altitude and rainfall, mostly because the mountains act as a physical barrier for the clouds.

Bastia Poretta has experienced two extremely dry years. In 2022, it measured only 320 mm of rain which is about a 60% deficit!

In 2021, it measured 527 mm.

This year, Bastia Poretta has had only 207 mm (a 33% deficit) while Piedicroce has had already 714 mm! Both weather stations are more or less the same distance from Campile but the difference is striking, underlining two things:

-Corsica has many microclimates

-this year the mountains have had a lot more rain the the plaine.

Another weather station in the plaine not too far away is the one at Alistro. This one has measured 314 mm, which is significantly more than Bastia Poretta but not close to Piedicroce.

To put all these data in perspective, Alistro has had 75% of the rain that Amsterdam has had, and the Netherlands have experienced one of its wettest springs ever! It also means that Piedicroce (and Campile probably too) has had almost two times as much rain as Amsterdam!

The reason that the eastern part of Corsica is so green, is because of the high rainfall that’s due to the famous ‘retour d’est’ or eastern winds that blow very humid air from the sea towards the north-south oriented Corsican alps. In contrast to many western European areas, the eastern side of Corsica does not get its rain from the dominant western wind.

Why? Because the high mountains block the rain when it’s brought to Corsica by the dominant western winds. For the eastern part of Corsica to get a lot of rain, it needs a north/south-eastern wind that brings precipitation from a depression that is oriented east of Corsica. In the last years, this retour d’est was almost completely absent and that is why this side of the island had so little rain. This year however, we have had multiple strong retour d’est, notably end of February/beginning of March, and last week.

Now all we need is some sun, because due to all the clouds and cold temperatures, I’m afraid that my tomatoes, eggplants and alike will start bearing fruit up to a month later than the last two years…

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