Spain sea temperatures hit new record

AFP , Wednesday 19 Jul 2023

Coastal waters around Spain have hit a record high temperature for this time of the year, the national weather office said Wednesday as the country remained on alert due to a sizzling heatwave.

A man cool off in a fountain during a hot and sunny day of summer in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, July 19, 2023. AP


The average temperature of the water off Spain in mid-July reached 24.6 degrees Celsius (76.3 Fahrenheit), 2.2 degrees Celsius higher than the average for the season, according to weather office Aemet.

The figure "far exceeds" the previous records of 24 degrees Celsius hit in 2015 and 23.7 degrees Celsius in 2022, and it is "unprecedented" for mid-July since current records began in 1940, it added.

This situation is even more worrying since the summer is far from over, said Aemet spokesman Ruben del Campo.

"There is still room for the sea to warm even more," he added, referring to both Spain's southern Mediterranean and northern Atlantic waters.

Temperatures in some spots of Spain's Mediterranean southeastern waters have already hit 28 degrees Celsius.

The warning comes as Spain has been since Monday grappling with its third heatwave since the start of summer.

Temperatures on Tuesday peaked at 45.4 degrees Celsius (113.5 Fahrenheit) in Figueres, hometown of Salvador Dali in Catalonia region, a record high for the northeastern region.

The mercury is forecast to surpass 44 degrees Celsius on Wednesday in Alicante, Almeria and Murcia.

The interior ministry warned much of the country faced a "very high" or "extreme" risk of wildfires because of the scorching temperatures.

Hundreds of firefighters, backed by water-dropping aircraft, were battling a blaze raging since Saturday on the island of La Palma, one of the eight making up the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.

The fire has destroyed some 3,500 hectares (8,700 acres) of land, burned around 20 houses and buildings and temporarily forced 4,000 residents to evacuate.

Scientists say heatwaves have become more likely due to climate change.

As global temperatures rise over time, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and their impacts more widespread.

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