Spain's summer of 2022 will be 'one of the coolest of the rest of our lives'

The Local Spain
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Spain's summer of 2022 will be 'one of the coolest of the rest of our lives'
“Heat records will continue to be beaten" in Spain, according to researcher Fernando Valladares of Spain's most important research institute. Photo: Fred TANNEAU / AFP

A scientist at Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC) has sent out an ominous warning to the country’s population about the fact that the worst is yet to come in terms of unbearably hot summers. 


More than 60,000 burnt hectares due to wildfires and 510 deaths as a result of heat-related causes

That’s the brief but alarming evaluation of what Spain's nine-day heatwave has meant in terms of loss of life, nature, crops, homes and more. 

But what if this is just the beginning of an increasingly worsening situation?   


“This summer, despite the fact that it’s proving to be tremendously hot, will probably be one of the coolest summers we have left for the rest of our lives,” ecologist Fernando Valladares told Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE.

Valladares is a member of the Spanish National Research Council, the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe.

“We’ve been warning about this for some time now. We said we should reduce gas emissions but far from it, we’ve continued to increase them,” Valladares added.

“Heat records will continue to be beaten.

“They used to say that people died more often from extreme cold weather and that for that reason it was necessary to have more central heating, but the difference in mortality due to heat-related causes is closing in on the extreme cold death toll, because winters are becoming increasingly warmer and summers more intensely hot”.

Spain has had 106 heatwaves since 1975, but they’re starting earlier in the year, becoming more frequent and lasting longer.

This year’s month of May was the hottest in Spain in a century, with temperatures above 40 C in some regions. 


June was the fifth driest month in 100 years and the fourth with highest average temperatures since records began.

2022 has also seen the earliest heatwave on record in Spain, starting on June 11th and lasting eight days. 

On Friday July 15th, 150 people died for reasons attributed to the extreme heat, the highest daily death toll ever.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Monday called for environmental measures to be enshrined by a State Pact, a move which would technically ensure that the fight against climate change is taken more seriously regardless of the political party that’s in power in Spain. 

Spanish farmers support any measure which focuses on preventing wildfires during periods of extreme heat, as many have complained of a lack of resources and manpower to extinguish the flames during this latest heatwave.

For Valladares “it’s never too late” for such a measure to be introduced, whilst stressing that "the health system, human physiology itself and the weather agencies already have little room to improve and further adapt " to the growing problems attached to extreme heat in Spain.


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