No winter snow on Spain's Teide for first time in 108 years

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
No winter snow on Spain's Teide for first time in 108 years
Tenerife is experiencing an extremely dry and warm winter, so the absence of snow from Mount Teide is unfortunately no surprise. Photo: Image by Lcg from Pixabay

Tenerife’s Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain, has not had any snowfall during the winter months for the first time in over a century, after the Canary Islands experienced their hottest January and February since records began.


Anyone who has visited Tenerife in the Canaries will be familiar with the majestic Mount Teide, a 3,715-metre-high dormant volcano that dominates the island’s varied landscape.

Despite the archipelago’s traditionally mild weather during winter, such is the altitude of El Teide that during periods of rainfall in the archipelago the mercury plummets below zero and the volcano and surrounding national park are covered in snow. 


Not this winter however, not once during the period running from December 1st to February 29th has the iconic symbol of Tenerife been snow-capped, the first time it’s happened in 108 years. 

Climate change deniers on the islands have been quick to respond that there was some snow on Teide in November, but this was only on the tip and lasted a couple of days as the mercury then reached abnormal temperatures above 30C.

This is no normal winter for the so-called fortunate islands, having recorded the hottest January and February temperatures on record, 2.5C above the average winter temperature of 17.7C.

There has also only been 12 days over the winter months without calima, sand that blows over from the nearby Sahara desert creating a haze that makes it harder to breathe. 

READ ALSO: What is 'calima' and is it bad for you?

In the easterly Canary island of Fuerteventura, the municipality of La Oliva recorded a record 31.7C on January 16th.

There’s also been far less rain than usual, a worrying situation given that Tenerife’s government recently declared a drought emergency with a view to introducing water restrictions before the drier hotter summer. 


"There has been an accumulated rainfall of 36 litres per square metre (during winter), that’s only 28 percent of the expected precipitation for this period," state meteorologist David Suárez told journalists.

This drier and hotter climate largely explained why wildfires destroyed huge parts of Tenerife’s dense forested areas in August of 2023, the worst fires in forty years.

“We’re facing one of the driest winters in recent history and ensuring the water supply for citizens and for Tenerife’s countryside is an essential issue that cannot have political preferences,” Cabildo president Rosa Dávila told the press about the island's drought plans.

It’s a worrying scenario for Tenerife and the 7 other islands that form part of this Atlantic archipelago off the coast of Western Sahara. 

Their geographical location and the trade winds that sweep through them used to ensure that they were a refuge during the bitter cold winter months and scorching summer in the distant European continent, which explains why tourism has long been the single most important industry in the Canaries.

This pleasant mild weather is now at risk, and the absence of winter snow on El Teide is the latest example of how climate change is transforming weather patterns in the Canaries and Spain as a whole. 


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Stewart Kirby 2024/03/16 16:10
I must have been seeing a mirage on Xmas Day when I looked at Teide from Puerto de la Cruz and it was covered in snow.

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