Etesian Winds

Location: Greece, Aegean Sea and E Mediterranean

The etesian winds are the prevailing annually recurring summer winds, blowing over large parts of Greece, the Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean. The name derives from the Greek 'etesios', annual. They blow steadily from northern to northwestern directions, bringing cold continental air and clear skies between end of May and beginning of October.

Etesian winds are usually dry, rather cool and moderate, however, they might reach gale force over off-shore areas, reaching their maximum wind speeds around early afternoon. The etesian winds are even a part of the Asian monsoon system as they result from high pressure over the Balkans and SE Europe and the development of the S Asian heat trough over the Anatolian plateau. The etesian wind best known in Greece and Turkey and well respected by sailors on the Aegean Seas is the Meltemi.

Gale-force etesians may occur as a result of thermal lows deepening over Turkey. Due to the extended duration of these winds, they can produce significant seas along the Egyptian and Israeli coasts. These steady winds seldom reach gale-force strength except when channeled through passes. The gale-force etesian is induced by the interaction of the seasonal trough along the south coast of Turkey and high pressure over eastern Europe.