SPANISH weather authority AEMET has reported record-high average temperatures and minimal rainfall in Malaga throughout 2023, confirming it as one of the hottest and driest years since record-keeping began in 1961.
On July 12, temperatures in Malaga soared to 43.3C, marking the fourth highest temperature ever recorded in the city.
The average maximum temperature at the Malaga airport this summer was 32.4C, up from 31.8C in 2022.
The normal average maximum summer temperature is 29.8C.
And just weeks ago, Malaga recorded the highest December temperature in history with the mercury surpassing 29C on December 12.
According to a report published on December 19, this autumn was the second warmest in Spain since records began.
Seven of the ten hottest autumns have occurred in the 21st century.
As far as precipitation, autumn was particularly dry in Malaga, with only 71.8 litres of rain per square metre falling throughout the province between September and November, 65% less than average, reports Malaga Hoy.
The driest year on record in the province was 1981, when only 19.7 litres of rain per square metre fell.
The city of Malaga was even drier. Between September and November, a total of 28 litres per square metre of precipitation fell at the airport.
October recorded 24 litres of rain per square metre compared to a 61 litre average, while just 4 litres fell in September, compared to a 25 litre average.
There was no rain in November, a month which usually sees 79 litres per square metre.
Although Spain as a whole remains under drought conditions, with the southern and northeastern portions of the country under particular stress, autumn 2023 saw higher than average rainfall across the peninsula, making it the seventeenth wettest in recorded history.
Still, AEMET director Jesús Riesco stressed the importance of rainfall in the coming months in order to prevent catastrophic effects.
“If it rains normally we’d have problems, but if it doesn’t rain normally, those problems would be even more serious,” Riesco told Málaga Hoy.
Three consecutive years of reduced rainfall and higher than normal temperatures have led to drought conditions in Spain and throughout southern Europe, causing severe stress to local agriculture.
Spanish olive production in particular — the majority of which lies in Andalucía — has been badly hit, with the 2022/2023 harvest being the smallest of the 21st century.
While forecasts remain uncertain, the year in precipitation may be off to a good start, with a cold front expected to bring moisture to the Málaga province on January 5.
However, the European Union’s Copernicus Programme, which provides large-scale weather forecasts from space, predicts drought conditions to continue through 2024.