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Spain sees staggering 552 temperature records broken this summer

The Local Spain
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Spain sees staggering 552 temperature records broken this summer
A street thermometer reads 44C during a heatwave in Sevilla, southern Spain on August 23, 2023. Photo: JORGE GUERRERO/AFP.

New data has revealed that during summer 2023 in Spain a staggering 552 temperature records were broken across the country.

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Through the months of June, July and August 2023, 552 temperature records were broken across Spain for average, maximum and minimum temperatures, according to a study carried out by weather website eltiempo.es.

August in particular was a scorcher, beating the average highs of August 2003, the record until this year, according to figures from Spain’s state meteorological agency AEMET.

August of this year tied with August 2003 in terms of average temperature but 2023 had higher maximum temperatures. The average temperature in Spain in August 2023 was 24.8C, which is 1.8C above the monthly average for the 1991-2020 period.

The average maximum temperature was the highest since records began at 32.7C, 0.2C higher than in August 2003 and a significant 2.2C above the normal average.

Though the plethora of monthly temperature records were spread across almost the entirety of Spain, most were recorded in the east and north of the country. The record breaking temperatures are remarkable above all for the rises in minimum temperatures, which reached record highs for days at a time in many areas across the country.

READ ALSO: Heatwave plans: Ten things to do in Spain when it’s too hot outside

"Although the records show that the heat has been striking in Spain, this is best seen in the average temperatures", eltiempo.es states. The average minimum temperature anomalies were spread throughout the country, and although some areas have had somewhat lower anomalies (rises below +1C), summer 2023 has been considered “warm” to “very warm” in the majority of the country.

There are regions across Spain with average minimum rises above +1.5C, with the east of the peninsula and a diagonal strip that goes from the southeast to the northwest standing out in particular.

Notable cities include Girona, Teruel, and cities in Andalusia such as Huelva and Malaga, where temperatures were +2C above normal values. In the Canary Islands, average temperatures were more than +1.5C across the islands, and summer 2023 has been much warmer in the islands than in 2022.

The greatest number of absolute records recorded were broken in Catalonia, and parts of Malaga. Valencia airport also recorded an all-time high. The mercury soared to a sizzling 46.8C at the Mediterranean coast airport, shattering the previous record of 43.4C set on July 6th, 1986, state weather agency Aemet said on social media.

READ ALSO: Valencia shatters heat record

“Some of the most outstanding absolute records are the absolute maximum at Valencia airport and Malaga airport, both stations with a long historical series,” eltiempo explained.

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A hot but rainy summer

Yet despite the record breaking temperatures, summer 2023 was also still a wet one in many parts of Spain.

Despite the fact large swathes of the country are struggling with long-term drought conditions, Spain’s reservoir reserves are dwindling, and the fact that it hardly rained in large parts of the country throughout July and August, thought that is not unusual, the summer was bookend by very wet conditions in many regions.

June kicked off the summer with storms in many parts of Spain, and as the summer season drew to a close in late-August and early-September severe flash floods affected many parts of the country.

READ ALSO: Five dead and three still missing after flash floods in Spain

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Storms affected almost the whole country in the first week of September, with the heaviest rains recorded in the provinces of Cádiz, Tarragona and Castellón, according to state weather office Aemet. The flash flooding killed at least five people, left many missing, and destroyed local homes and infrastructure.

Summer rain level anomalies exceeded 50 percent in inland and eastern areas in 2023, and 100 percent in parts of the southwest. The highest rainfall anomaly in the whole country was recorded in Granada, which with 85.2mm of rain this summer registered 711 percent more than normal levels.

In the Canary Islands the summer was wet in the western islands and Gran Canaria, but below average in the eastern islands.

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