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Extreme heat hits new high in Spain with further rise likely

The previous October record was set in 2014 when the mercury hit 37.5C in the southern town of Marbella

By Web Desk
October 03, 2023
A worker cools off while working in a street during a heatwave in Sevilla, in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, on July 17, 2023. — AFP

As the acute weather conditions are being witnessed throughout the world, temperatures hit a new high in Spain for October as authorities in the country are anticipating a further rise in the mercury that could continue for more than a week.

Extreme heat persisted in the European country for three days starting from Friday as the temperature touched 38.2 degrees Celsius (100.7 Fahrenheit) in the southern town of Montoro near Cordoba on Sunday, according to the AEMET weather agency.

The previous October record was set in 2014 when the mercury hit 37.5C in the southern town of Marbella.

"On October 1, it reached an all-time high for this time of year in practically the entire Iberian Peninsula," it said on X, formerly Twitter, saying that nearly 40% of its weather stations had registered a temperature of 32C or higher.

A report late last month stated that European countries experienced the highest-ever temperatures in September.

This alarming trend comes in a year that experts predict will be the warmest in human history as the impacts of climate change continue to take a toll.

These unseasonably warm conditions in Europe follow a report from the EU climate monitor earlier in the month, which stated that global temperatures during the Northern Hemisphere summer were the highest ever recorded.

Earlier, Spain and Portugal's national weather institutes issued warnings of abnormally warm temperatures expected to hit the region, with parts of southern Spain experiencing temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.

Scientists attribute these rising temperatures to climate change driven by human activity, with global temperatures now approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The El Niño weather phenomenon, which warms waters in the southern Pacific and beyond, is expected to contribute to further temperature increases.

The consequences of these disruptions to the planet's climate systems include more frequent and intense extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and storms, leading to greater loss of life and property.

The situation was similar on Monday, with the southern city of Seville reaching 38.1C, AEMET figures showed.

"But the most extraordinary thing is that there are still quite a few unseasonably warm days left: we could have up to 10 more days of record heat," the agency said.

Although it has become accustomed to soaring summer temperatures, notably in the south, Spain has experienced an uptick in longer and hotter heatwaves, experts say.

Spain, which had its hottest year on record in 2022, has been in the grip of successive heatwaves this year which got off to an unusually early start in April, exacerbating an ongoing drought.

Experts say the recurring heatwaves, which have been getting longer and more intense, are a consequence of climate change.

The Iberian Peninsula is bearing the brunt of climate change in Europe, with droughts and wildfires becoming more and more common.