Spain is almost saying goodbye to the hottest summer in 60 year

by Lorraine Williamson
unusually hot

MADRID – Spain has experienced its hottest summer since 1961, with a deviation of 2.2 degrees above average. That means the year 2003, so far considered the hottest summer season on record, has been exceeded by 0.4°C. 

This is according to data from the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). Last month was the second warmest August since the series started in 1961. The month was normal for rainfall in mainland Spain. But in the Canary Islands, it was the third wettest August since the start of the recorded data. 


August was generally very warm, with an average temperature in mainland Spain of 24.7°C. That is 2°C above this month’s average based on the reference period 1981-2010. It is the second-warmest month in August since the series began in 1961. And, therefore, of the 21st century, after August 2003. 

Last month it was extremely hot in the central and south-eastern quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula, and very hot in the rest of mainland Spain, except for the western end of Andalucia, where it was warm or normal. 

Strikingly warm in north-western Spain and Catalonia 

In the Balearic Islands, it was very hot, while in the Canary Islands it was warm or very hot in most areas. The most notable thermal anomalies were around +3 °C in large parts of the following areas;

  • Southern Galicia
  • Castilla y León
  • Basque Country
  • Navarra
  • La Rioja
  • Aragón
  • Catalonia
  • Madrid
  • Eastern Extremadura
  • Northern and western Castilla-La Mancha
  • Centre and north of the Valencian Community
  • Eastern Andalucia

Some areas of these regions even reached values ​​close to +4 °C.

With the currently available data, it can be assumed that between July 30 and August 15 there was a heat wave in the peninsula and the Balearic Islands, with an anomaly of 3.8 C, a maximum temperature of 36.1 C and a range of 27 provinces. 

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In 23 main stations, the average temperature for the month was the highest since the start of the respective series. 

In addition, in 17 main stations, the monthly average of the daily maximums was the highest in the August series and in sixteen the average of the minimum temperatures was also the highest in August since the beginning of the observations. 

Highest August Temperatures 

The highest temperatures of the month were observed during the heat wave of the first two weeks, with the main observatories being the 42.6°C recorded in Córdoba/Airport on Day 2, the 42.0°C measured in Alicante and Almería on Day 13, and Alicante-Elche/airport’s 41.9 °C also observed at 13. In seven main stations, the month’s maximum temperature was the highest temperature recorded in August since the beginning of the observations. In addition, the highest day minimum (the warmest night) of the August series was recorded in nine main stations. 

August is not the driest month 

Despite the heat, August was not the driest month, with an average precipitation value in mainland Spain of 21.8 mm, 96% of the normal value for the month (reference period: 1981-2010). It was the thirty-seventh driest month of August since the series began in 1961 and the fifteenth of the 21st century. On the other hand, August in the Canary Islands was the third wettest month of August since the start of the series, after 2005 and 2015. 

Dry in normally wetter areas 

August was between normal and wet in almost the entire peninsula, except Galicia, eastern Cantabria, the Basque Country, Navarre, much of Huesca, Castellón, Extremadura and Toledo, where it has been dry or very dry. Augustus was very wet in parts of the Huesca Pyrenees, Catalonia, parts of Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia and the Canary archipelago. In the Balearic Islands, the month has shown a clear contrast between the islands, humid or very humid on the island of Menorca and the north of Mallorca and dry in the rest of the archipelago. 

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