2020 was “extremely warm” in Spain. Both the air and the sea waters registered record global temperatures: it was the hottest year since there are records (1961) tied with 2017, according to the analysis of the State Meteorological Agency. The average temperature of the Iberian Peninsula was 14.7ºC, one degree above the historical average of reference 1981-2010.
The global warming that alters the climate is especially noticeable in the Iberian peninsula and 2020 has put a new nail: in fact, last year saw the general thermometer rise a lot, despite the fact that the La Niña phenomenon was taking place, which tends to refresh the planetary atmosphere while in 2017 there was an El Niño that tends to overheat, they indicate in the AEMET.
The direct consequence in the lives of citizens is that thermal peaks are suffered much more frequently: “In the last decade we have registered three times the days of extreme heat than would be expected if there were no climate change”, explained the meteorologist Rubén del Countryside. Last year saw the third longest heat wave since 1975.
The AEMET analyzes confirm that Spain is especially vulnerable to global warming and climate change. “It is overheating faster than many other parts of the planet,” concedes Del Campo. The average Spanish temperature has risen 1.7ºC since pre-industrial times in the mid-nineteenth century. But three-quarters of all that rise (1.3ºC) has occurred since 1960, in just 60 years.
In addition to the air, the Agency has confirmed that the surrounding marine waters also absorbed a great deal of heat – the second hottest year for the marine environment. The average temperature in the waters of the Spanish coast was 0.5ºC above the average, but in the Mediterranean, this increase reached 1ºC. “The greatest temperature anomalies were registered in the waters located between the coasts of Barcelona, Tarragona and the north of the Balearic Islands”, details the analysis of the meteorologists.
The excess heat in the sea triggers a whole battery of degradation processes such as the acidification of the environment that leads to “mass mortality” of species, as analyzed by the Spanish Office for Climate Change in 2017. The heat waves that multiply in Spain too they end up being noticed in the waters of the sea.
In addition to the global trend in temperature, climate change is impacting through increasingly recurring extreme phenomena: droughts, torrential rains, storms … “have a great social impact due to their extraordinary nature and great intensity that can cause damage to goods and people “, describes the AEMET report. Last year, the storm Gloria stood out, “a historic storm” in the Mediterranean area, the “extraordinary” entry of suspended dust in the Canary Islands in February, the heat wave from July 25 to August 2 or cyclone Alpha that crossed the peninsula in September.