Number of heat waves in Spain doubled in ten years

by Lorraine Williamson
extreme temperatures

WEATHER – According to weather experts, more and more heatwaves will occur in Spain in the futureCurrentlyalmost the entire country is dealing with very extreme temperatures. But a heatwave like the current one will most likely go down in the books as a ‘cool summer‘ in 30 years. 

A spokesman Rubén del Campo of the Spanish weather service AEMET has announced this. A maximum temperature of 45 degrees is forecast for the coming days in the Valle del Guadalquivir (Córdoba). In several places in Spain, the night temperature will remain at 26 to 28 degrees. 

The heat wave in Spain came just after the IPCC (the United Nations climate panel) announced that the world must prepare for significantly greater weather extremes. This refers to heat waves, extreme drought, heavy rainfall and tropical cyclones. 

More and more extreme temperatures 

A heat wave in Spain occurs when the temperature is 5% higher than the average in most of the country and this high temperature lasts for at least three days. Between 1980 and 2000, Spain experienced between 10 and 12 heatwaves every ten years. Between 2010 and 2020 there were already twice as many at 24. According to Del Campo, this strong increase will continue in the coming period and there will be not only more, but also more extreme heatwaves. 

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Climatologist Dominic Royé of the University of Santiago de Compostela conducted research into heat waves in Spain. He notes that between 1971 and 2000 there was a heat wave for 21 days every year. The prediction is that in the year 2050 there will be at least 41 annually. In the most unfavorable scenario, the calculation even increases to 50 days a year with extreme heat. Another calculation shows that if by 2030 an average of 16 percent of the Spanish territory will have to deal with extreme heat, this percentage will have increased to between 26 and 32 percent by 2050. 

More deaths due to extreme temperatures 

Between 1998 and 2012, 3,669 people died in Spain as a result of the heat. In the hypothetical case that current CO2 emissions are not addressed, the forecast is that between 2035 and 2064 the number of deaths will rise to 14,531 per year. In that case, there will even be 30,443 annually between 2070 and 2099. However, this prediction does not take into account the fact that Spaniards are increasingly able to organize their lives against the heat with, for example, cooling systems and air conditioning. It is mainly the elderly who die as a result of extreme heat. 


Heatwave expected to end on Tuesday 

AEMET issued a code red on Thursday for areas in the Catalonia and Aragon regions, where temperatures can reach 43 degrees. On Friday, the heat will move south and code red will apply to the provinces of Seville and Cordoba and the Valle del Guadaquivir in Jaén. The temperature here can rise to 44 degrees. The peak of the heatwave will last until Sunday. From then on, the temperature will gradually drop from the north. The heatwave is expected to be over again on Tuesday throughout Spain. 

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