16 Aug, 2022 @ 12:45
1 min read

Rissaga: What you need to know about the meteotsunami warning issued in Spain’s Balearic Islands 

Image from Govern Islas Baleares - Balearic Island Coastal observing and forecasting system

SPAIN’S weather agency has activated an alert in the Balearic Islands for a weather phenomenon known as ‘rissaga’ which causes sudden wave swells of at least two metres.

The yellow warning means there is a likelihood of between 40% to 70% that a ‘meteotsunami’ will be experienced on the island of Menorca.

A meteotsunami is a sea wave with a height of 2 meters or more produced by sudden changes in atmospheric pressure.

The most severe meteotsunami registered in the Balearics was in the Menorcan port of Ciutadella – it had oscillations of up to four meters and caused damage to several boats.

In Spain, meteotsunamis usually happen in Menorca where they are also known as “rissagas” – according to the Aemet, the morphology of some ports such as Ciutadella can amplify the phenomenon.

Meteotsunamis have similar characteristics to a tsunami, but their origins are meteorological and not seismic – which means that meteotsunamis do not happen as a consequence of earthquakes on the seabed or due to displacement of land.

The Balearic Islands also have medium to high forest alerts in place due to high temperatures – on Sunday night record high minimum temperatures were recorded in some areas, Palma Porto Pi 29ºC, Banyalbufar 29,6ºC and Pollensa 27,66ºC.


Jorge Hinojosa

Jorge Hinojosa Mena was born and bred in Madrid before moving to the UK to study. After an undergraduate degree in Manchester, he completed an MA in International Journalism at City. He has worked in radio and for Spain’s Efe news agency before joining the Olive Press in March 2022. Contact: Jorge@theolivepress.es

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