Europe

Spain braces for earliest-ever official heatwave

Country already registered hottest-ever day in May this year

Alyssa McMurtry   | 10.06.2022
Spain braces for earliest-ever official heatwave

OVIEDO, Spain

Spain’s first official heatwave this year is coming down hard, meteorologists warned on Friday.

The sweltering temperatures, lasting well into next week, are set to go down in history as Spain’s earliest heatwave on record, the state meteorological agency, AEMET, said.

Temperatures are expected to be 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (43 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average over the next week in most of Spain’s interior, according to the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

With that, temperatures will soar to at least 40 degrees C (104 F) in large parts of Andalusia, Extremadura, and Castilla-La Mancha.

This record-setting heatwave is preceded by an extraordinary heat episode just three weeks ago. During the episode, which did not quite reach the conditions to be called an official heatwave, Spain registered its hottest-ever day in May.

The constant shattering of new records for heat falls within a general pattern of rising temperatures globally and in Spain.

According to AEMET’s 2021 annual climate report, seven of the hottest years registered in Spain since 1961 have been in the last decade.

The Mediterranean region is particularly vulnerable to climate change, warming 20% faster than the global average, according to the UN.

Desertification, or the process of fertile land turning arid, is one of the main threats to Spain’s environment. According to the Environment Ministry, 74% of Spain’s land is susceptible to desertification, which is exacerbated by high temperatures and a lack of rainfall.

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