October 20, 2020

Global warming makes Spain withstand twice as many heat waves as a decade ago

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has the world in suspense, the climate crisis continues to advance. The global warming of the Earth that is behind the climatic alteration has taken hold in Spain in the last ten years and 2020 confirms this phenomenon: the course is, for the moment, the warmest since there are records tied with 2017, according to the records of the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). If it follows the trend detected already in the first half of September, it will occupy the first position alone. The most recent year, the warmest year.

With the meteorological summer of 2020 about to close (it will be next Tuesday), a decade is closing in which the warming of the planet due to the greenhouse effect of gases emitted into the atmosphere has been felt. In this way, Spain has endured twice as many heat waves in the last decade as in the previous decade: 23 episodes of prolonged and extended extreme heat compared to 12 in the period 2001-2011. Similarly, an average of six days with these peaks has gone from being held to 14 between 2011 and 2020. They are also more intense since in the last ten years there has been the greatest variation in temperature compared to the historical average: 2 , 7.

This summer period has confirmed the trend. The station has been classified as “very warm” by Aemet. The average temperature of 23.9 ºC, supposes to go 0.9 degrees above the normal thing. Thus, six consecutive summers are linked with temperatures that exceed expectations. In this quarter, there have been two heat waves. The first was early and arrived already in July -oanother phenomenon associated with progressive global warming-: it was declared on the 25th and lasted until August 2. The second wave was between August 6 and 10.

Excessive heat has not only affected the air. The sea has also accumulated radiation. The Mediterranean has warmed between 0.8 and 0.9 ºC above average. This 2020, these waters have registered the fourth hottest summer since 1980. The temperature of the Mediterranean near the Spanish coasts has grown by 1.6ºC in the last 40 years. This heating of the water is already associated with large deaths of marine species in addition to the expansion of the sea itself that causes its average level to rise.

The rainfall panel completes the picture. This hydrological year, which runs from October to September and which has 12 days left to conclude, will be humid with rainfall 11% above the historical average, clarifies the Aemet. The same situation that is registered for the calendar year that goes from January to December. The negative side of these rains is that they are occurring on several occasions in an irregular and stormy manner, which facilitates episodes of floods and floods such as those registered at the beginning of September in the Balearic archipelago.


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