Weather

This year to go down as Spain’s fourth hottest in history

The summer of 2015 included the longest heatwave ever recorded in the country

A man tries to cool off in Madrid in June.
A man tries to cool off in Madrid in June.Jaime Villanueva

This year will go down as one of Spain’s hottest in history. According to figures compiled by the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), the annual average temperature in the country up until November 30 was 16.5ºC – about 0.8ºC higher than the average between 1981 and 2010.

Aemet states that 2015 is the fourth hottest year on record in Spain – only last year, 2006 and 2011 saw higher average temperatures.

This summer was also the country’s second-hottest since 1961 and included the longest heatwave ever recorded.

Last year, 2006 and 2011 were even hotter,  according to the state weather agency

And the coming cold season is not expected to bring particularly low temperatures. The winter will begin on December 22 at 5.48pm with above average temperatures across the country and rain forecast in the northwest of the peninsula, says Aemet spokeswoman Ana Casals.

The United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said around a month ago that the average global temperature in 2015 would be one of the hottest since 1880, when reliable records began.

At the same time, the WMO states that the period between 2011 and 2015 was the hottest five years on record.

Among the reasons given are global climate change and the El Niño weather system in the Pacific.

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Scientists blame climate change on the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere,  which warms the planet. In 2014 the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), reached a concentration of 397.7 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. Before the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of CO2 was 278ppm, or 40 percent less than what it is today.

Spaniards are also experiencing one of the driest periods on record, Aemet said in a report released Thursday.

Between December 1 and 14, average rainfall was 485 millimeters – around 20 percent lower than average. The dry period has been blamed on a lack of rain during the second half of spring and during November.

This fall has been particularly dry, with 18 percent less rainfall than other years. Aemet said the autumn of 2015 has been the fifth driest on record after those of 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2013.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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