Iberian Peninsula swelters in early heatwave
By Anders Lorenzen
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.