Yacht Charters Greece - Meltemi Winds: Description and Information 

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Weather Conditions over Greece


Etesian (Meltemi) Winds

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

The etesians (Ancient Greek ετησίαι 'annual (winds)', sometimes found in the Latin form etesiae), meltemi μελτέμι (Greek), or meltem (Turkish) are the strong, dry north winds of the Aegean Sea, which blow for about 45 days every summer. In northern Crete it is by far the most preferred summer weather type and considered a blessing. They are at their strongest in the afternoon and often die down at night, but sometimes meltemi storms last for days without a break. Similar winds blow in the Adriatic and Ionian regions. Meltemi storms are dangerous to sailors because they come up in clear weather without warning and can blow at 7-8 Beaufort. Yachts and most interisland ferries cannot sail during these storms.

The Greek word derives from the Greek word έτος (étos), meaning year, connotating their yearly fluctuation in frequency of appearance. Indeed, these winds have been described since ancient times and the word etesian (Greek: ετησίες) means annual. The Turkish form is probably a loan from Italian mal tempo 'bad weather'.Though it is sometimes called a monsoon wind, the meltemi is dry and does not correspond to an opposite wind in the winter. However, the etesians are distantly correlated with the summer monsoons of the Indian subcontinent, as it is a trough of low pressure into the Eastern Mediterranean region that enforces, if not causes, the etesians to blow in summer. A Mediterranean climate is sometimes called an etesian climate.

Etesians are due chiefly to the deep continental depression centered over southwest Asia and blow from a direction which may be anywhere between north-east and north-west depending on local topography; meltemi weather is ordinarily fine and clear, the northerly winds tempering the fierce summer heat of the region.

In the Northern Aegean sea, the etesians blow as winds of northeasterly to northerly direction. Moving south, in the central Aegean, they blow as winds of northerly direction, while, in the southern Aegean, the Cretan and the Carpathian sea, they blow as northwesterlies. The same winds blow in Cyprus as westerlies to southwesterlies, being more humid.

Historically, Phillip of Macedonia timed his military operations so that powerful southern fleets could not reach him: their ships could not sail north while the Etesian winds were blowing.

This is how 'Meltemi' is created:

Meltemi wind - How/why it occurs