June and July 2019 have been declared the warmest months on the planet since there are records (1880) and the extent of sea ice was the smallest for a month of June and July since it was monitored by satellite (1979).
This summer will be marked in Europe, and particularly in Spain, by the two episodes of intense heat waves that not only broke historical records throughout the continent but also underpin the trend towards global warming. This is the fundamental conclusion of the climate report for the summer of 2019, which, together with an advance in the seasonal forecast for next fall, has been presented at a press conference by the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), dependent on the Ministry for Ecological Transition. .
The summer of 2019 has been dry, with an average rainfall in the whole of Spain of 64 l / m2, which is 14% lower than the 1981-2010 reference period. The precipitations registered in the months of July and August, which were respectively very humid and humid, did not manage to compensate for the very dry nature of June.
Throughout the summer quarter there have been several episodes of intense rains, among which stand out that of July 8 and 9, in which rainfall was recorded in areas of the northern half of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands, being of special intensity in Navarre; and the episode of August 25 and 27 in which rainfall affected a large part of the peninsular area and the Balearic Islands, and were of great intensity locally to the south of Madrid, southwest of Zaragoza and south of Mallorca.
The highest value of maximum daily precipitation recorded this summer in a main observatory was in August on the 20th with 87 mm in Alicante, followed that same day with 85 mm in the area of Alicante and Elche, and 72 mm in the area of Huesca and Pyrenees on the 19th, with the three amounts of daily precipitation being the highest recorded on a summer day in the corresponding series. In addition, in Alicante, the accumulated precipitation in summer 2019 was 99 mm, and it has also turned out to be the maximum of the corresponding series.
The third driest year of the century
This summer the trend of the current hydrological year has continued, which began on October 1, 2018 and ends on September 30, maintaining figures very similar to those registered last spring. Since then, in the whole of Spain a total of 521 liters per square meter have been accumulated in the whole of Spain until September 10, a value that is 15% below the average value of the reference period 1981-2010.
Regarding the calendar year, from January 1 to August 31, 281 liters per square meter were collected, a value lower than normal by 23%. In both cases we speak of the third driest hydrological and natural year of the 21st century.
Applying the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) to the rains registered in the stations of the AEMET main network in the last twelve months (from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019), can speak of meteorological drought for that period in a good part of the western half of the peninsula, in a strip that covers areas of Galicia, Cantabria, western Basque Country, Castilla y León, Community of Madrid, Extremadura, western Castilla-La Mancha, north and west of Andalusia, a good part of Mallorca and parts of the western Canary Islands.
The meteorological drought is more intense in the west of Badajoz, south of Castilla y León, west of the Community of Madrid, the eastern end of Cáceres and areas of the northwest of Castilla-La Mancha.
With regard to temperatures, the past climatological summer turned out to be very warm, with an average temperature of 23.8ºC. This value is 0.8ºC higher than the average for the 1981-2010 reference period and makes it the tenth warmest summer since 1965. It was the fifth consecutive summer with temperatures above the average, and it should be noted that in the This decade has seen five of the ten warmest summers since 1965. Nine of those ten warmest summers have occurred in the 21st century.
In the present decade there have been five of the ten warmest summers since 1965
The individual behavior of the summer months has been similar: all have been very warm in much of Spain, but with cold anomalies in areas of the western third of the peninsula in June and July, and with normal values in the southwest of the Peninsula in August. .
But if something has characterized this past summer it has been its hot episodes, specifically its heat waves, of which we highlight two. The one that took place between June 26 and July 1 was very significant, especially in the center and northeast of the peninsula. The air mass that caused it was the warmest that has affected Spain in 40 years and five stations of the AEMET main network broke the record for absolute maximum temperature, with the particularity of doing so in June and not in July and August, the statistically warmer months.
A study conducted by AEMET revealed that heat waves in June are now ten times more likely than in the 1980s and 1990s. One of the most significant observatories to break its record was El Retiro, in Madrid, with almost a century of series, and in which the 40.7ºC on the 28th exceeded the previous record, registered in August 2012, by one tenth. In some points of the northeast of the peninsula, in addition, they exceeded 43ºC.
During the second heat wave, recorded between July 20 and 25, the record for maximum temperature measured at the San Sebastián Observatory (Igeldo) stands out, with data from 1928, and where the 39ºC on the 23rd exceeded by four tenths the previous record, corresponding to the historic summer of 2003.
Finally, it should be noted that the extent of sea ice on the planet was the lowest for a month of June and for a month of July since it was monitored by satellite in 1979.
The advance of the forecast weather trend for the period of October, November and December 2019 indicates that there is a greater probability that the temperature will reach values higher than normal in the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, considering, as always, a reference period of 1981 to 2010.
The most likely scenario is that the average temperature of these three months will be in the upper tertile, which for the whole of Spain means that it will be, at least, almost 0.6ºC above normal, although in some areas, especially the peninsular northwest, Central System, Montes de Toledo, Subbética and south of the Iberian System, this warm anomaly can reach practically 1ºC.