22 Apr, 2024 @ 16:21
2 mins read

How hot will Spain be this summer? Experts give their verdict after last year’s record-breaking heat

Experts have given their verdict on how hot Spain could be this summer after last year’s record breaking heat across the country. 

Spain saw its second hottest year ever in 2023 as the effects of climate change continued to bash the country. 

Last year, southern Europe saw ten days of ‘extreme heat stress’, which according to experts rose the mortality rate by 20% compared to the last two decades. 

Despite higher than normal temperatures in January, February and March, this summer is set to be cooler than in 2023. 

READ MORE: How taking in the sun daily can help prevent cancer and heart problems, according to scientists in Spain

2023 was a year of extreme weather conditions pushed by climate change.
Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

“It’s very probable that June, July and August won’t be hotter than the average European temperatures,” confirmed Copernicus, the EU’s Earth Observation arm. 

The entity, which studies the planet and its environment, including the effects of climate change, made the statement while presenting a report on 2023’s weather conditions. 

It showed high temperatures, reaching 48C in some areas like Sicily (Italy) and 44.5C in areas of southern Spain (Cordoba), provoking the ‘biggest forest fire ever registered’ in Greece. 

According to experts, temperatures won’t be as hot this summer thanks to the retirement of the weather phenomenon, El Niño. 

Provoked by climate change, the phenomenon is characterised by heatwaves, droughts and floods. 

It will be replaced by La Niña, known for cold spells. 

“We know that large parts of the world are no longer under the effects of El Nño, which reached its peak in December or January. Now El Niño is retiring and forecasts suggest we reach a neutral state or return to what it was like before,” said Copernicus. 

However, the EU entity highlighted more data is needed before a thorough prediction can be made. 

Since 2000, Europe has seen 23 heatwaves and five of those took place in the last three years. 

In 2023, the largest number of ‘extreme heat stress’ days were recorded, alongside the biggest forest fire, the highest sea temperatures and the greatest amounts of floods. 

This provoked a loss of an estimated €13,400, of which 81% is attributed to the floods which affected 1.6 million people. 

READ MORE: Why are there so many cockroaches in Spain? How the vile bugs thrive in southern Europe – as new research shows they are becoming resistant to insecticides

Last year, 63 Europeans died due to storms, 44 due to flooding and 44 due to fires. 

‘Heat stress’ refers to how heat affects the human body when combined with humidity and wind speed. 

According to scientists, prolonged exposure to heat stress can make certain illnesses worse and increase the risk of others. 

It is caused by heat, heat exhaustion and heatstroke and mainly affects vulnerable people such as the older population and children.  

A new record was made in 2023 for the most ‘heat stressed’ days, with an equivalent of 46C. 

At least 13% of Europe experienced at least one day of this phenomenon and 41% in Southern Europe experienced it on one day, July 23. 

Europe also saw temperatures rise one degree above average in 2023, except in Scandinavia, Iceland and Greenland. 

For many, September was abnormally hot, with November reaching some six degrees above average. 

It was also a record year in terms of rainfall, which was 7% higher than other years. 

While this affected mostly the north and east of the continent, the opposite was seen in areas of Spain, where there was an extreme lack of rain. 

Sea temperatures also saw an alarming rise, with the highest ever surface level temperature ever recorded, 0.55C above average. 

In June 2023, sea temperatures soared to 1.76C above average and in Southern Ireland, an ‘extreme’ ‘sea heatwave’ was registered, with temperatures 5C above average. 

The effects of climate change were also seen in poles, with arctic temperatures rising by 3.3 degrees. 

It marked the seventh hottest year in the arctic, contributing to the 10.3cm sea level rise seen since 1993. 

READ MORE: Winter comes back with a bang: Arctic blast to bring freezing temperatures to Spain next week – these are the most affected areas

Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email [email protected]

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