Next extreme heatwave on its way to Spain

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Spain heatwave

MADRID – The last heatwave is not quite over yet and now meteorologists are already announcing the next extreme temperature event, although there is a small heat break this weekend. The Spanish weather institute is clear about it: the extreme heat will remain.

And that while the four worst weeks of the year have yet to begin. The second half of July and the first half of August together usually form the warmest period of the year. This is referred to as the ‘canícula’ and is the period in which the heat is most extreme. Normally, this period extends from July 15 to August 15 in Spain. The peak is July 15 because that is the country’s sunniest day of the year. So contrary to what many people think: around June 21 and the year’s longest day. Still, the lack of clouds in mid-July reinforces the infamous heat picture in the Iberian Peninsula known as “horno ibérico”: Iberian oven.

Extremely warm early next week

With the “horno ibérico” active, it is only necessary that there is a high-pressure area (a “dorsal anticiclónica”) to raise the temperatures. And that is exactly what is about to happen now. According to AEMET, “The first days of the coming week (Monday to Wednesday) will be extremely hot in the Mediterranean region, including the east of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. Temperatures of 40 to 42 ºC could be reached in these areas, and locally even higher.”

Will it be a real heatwave?

Given the predicted temperatures, it could very well be possible. But talking about a heatwave in advance is always difficult. It is a technical term and the following specific conditions must be met: a) three consecutive days on which b) at least 10% of the monitoring stations considered record maximum temperatures c) above the 95th percentile of their range of daily maximum temperatures.

If these conditions are not met, there will be no heatwave. But the fact that they are not fulfilled does not mean that it will not be extremely hot. Whether or not there will be a heatwave next week: the situation (and the ECMWF map clearly shows that, see also the image on this page) will be extreme.

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Very hot July

But that’s not the worst. The seasonal models predict a very hot July. Hotter than usual. In addition, despite the high-pressure area over northern Europe giving us “breathing room” for weeks, the situation has now returned to normal and experts do not expect any additional rain or relief from the heat than usual.

Furthermore, the rest of the summer doesn’t look much better in terms of high temperatures. According to the forecast of the Copernicus programme, for the August-September-October quarter, there is a high probability that “temperatures will be above average in virtually all continental areas of the planet (and largely in the oceans).

If we limit ourselves to Europe, according to there is “a 50 to 70% chance that the next quarter will be among the warmest fifth of the period 1993-2016”. That’s a lot of heat, so much so that even the fact that there’s a “40 to 50% chance” of more rain than usual won’t fix it.

The weekend

Thanks to westerly winds, it will first be slightly cooler on Friday and Saturday before the mercury will rise again across the country from Sunday. Only in the extreme northwest of Spain it stays on the cool side. Thanks to a new mass of warm air from Africa, temperatures will rise to 5 to 10 degrees above normal early next week, AEMET says.

Also see: The surface water of the sea in Spain 3 degrees above normal

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