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Iberian Peninsula swelters in early heatwave

Iberian Peninsula swelters in early heatwave

A failed wheat harvest in Ronda, Spain. Photo credit: Reuters / Jon Nazca.

By Anders Lorenzen

Temperature records have been set in Portugal and Spain, as the region continues to endure early Spring heat.

The Iberian peninsula has broken temperature records for April as they swelter in an early-season heatwave which has exacerbated a long drought in some regions.

The city of Cordoba in southern Spain recorded 38.8 degrees C at its airport on the 27th of April. This beats the previous record of 38.6 degrees C set in 2011 in the eastern city of Elche. Figures according to the weather agency AEMET.

However, Spain’s all-time April temperature high does remain the 40.2 C recorded on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands in 2013.

Across the border in Portugal in the central town of Mora, the temperature reached 36.9 C in April which, according to the Portuguese weather agency, beat the 36.0 C record which had stood since April 1945.

A long-running drought

The Iberian Peninsula is suffering from a long-running drought and has experienced almost a 25% drop in rainfall since last October, confirming that 2022 was one of Spain’s driest years on record. As a result, the region has suffered from earlier-than-usual wildfires, creating fears of a repeat of last summer’s extreme waves of fires, widely attributed to climate change.

These temperature extremes come on the back of a series of climate warnings and pessimistic climate science reports. And it follows 2022, a year where hardly any region of the world was untouched by climate-induced extreme weather events. 

In Europe alone, last year’s extremes have already had profound economic impacts, especially for the agriculture industry – with many farmers fighting for their livelihoods.  The spring heat temperatures in Iberia will undoubtedly accelerate the fears amongst farmers, the public and policymakers.

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