MADRID – While people on the Spanish coast are enjoying an Indian summer with temperatures not far from 25 degrees Celsius, the Mediterranean Sea has experienced a surprising and sharp drop in temperatures.
Such a significant cooling in a region known for its warm climate is atypical. What causes these unusual phenomena in sea temperatures?
Surprising temperature drop
Sea temperatures along the Mediterranean coast have dropped suddenly to between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius in areas such as Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Region of Murcia and eastern Andalucia. This is a sharp drop considering the temperature during the Pilar weekend in mid-October was still between 25-26 degrees Celsius.
The power of the ‘poniente’ (west wind)
The main ‘culprit’ seems to be the ‘poniente’, a westerly wind that causes warm surface water to be driven into the sea and cold water to come up from the depths. This phenomenon is responsible for the sudden cooling of the sea water.
Climate patterns change
These specific cold events may be temporary, but they interrupt the overall warming trend that the Mediterranean has experienced in recent years. Recent data show that the sea temperature between Cap de Creus and Málaga is even 3 to 4 degrees Celsius below the seasonal average.
Not just a Mediterranean issue
It’s not just the Mediterranean that experiences such fluctuations. The Cantabrian Sea has also experienced a return to normal temperatures after unusually heavy showers. Meteored explains that despite these events, which are short-lived, the worrying warming of the seas in recent years is undeniable. Moreover, this year’s warming has been particularly intense and a sign of current climate change.