Spain is warming up like in the summer and worries about the future

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In Madrid, where it reached nearly 32 degrees on Friday, schools were able to close early to avoid the heat.

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In Cataloniathe drought is such that the valves of an irrigation ditch have been closed for lack of water.

It’s inside SevillePolice investigate the death of a horse pulling a tour carriage due to apparent heatstroke.

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With temperatures of over 38 degrees in early April, the Spaniards went into summer mode, seeking shade and hitting the beach.

But the extreme heat – so early in the year – has raised fears that it will cease to be a seasonal phenomenon become a new daily reality.

People resting in the shade on Wednesday in Seville.  Photo Cristina Quicler/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

People resting in the shade on Wednesday in Seville. Photo Cristina Quicler/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

On Thursday, Spain recorded the hottest temperature in its history in April, with 38.8 degrees Celsius in the southern city of Córdoba, according to the National Weather Service.

And in various areas of the country the thermometers have exceeded the seasonal norms by more than 3.3 degrees, reaching values ​​typical of summer.

Coinciding with a prolonged drought that has depleted watersheds and dried up fields, the extreme heat has prompted experts and authorities to prepare for an earlier-than-expected return of heat-related disasters such as the forest firesand check your predictions.

“It’s really extraordinary,” Cayetano Torres, a spokesman for the meteorological service, told Televisión Española this week.

“We are quite surprised.”

The cause of the abnormally high temperatures is “the influx of a very hot and dry air mass from North Africa,” which is settling over Spain and not moving much, the weather service said in a statement.

Even the inhabitants of Córdoba, accustomed to very hot springs, were surprised by the heat.

“We thought it would come later, in May or June,” Manuel Suárez Fernández, who works in a bar on the banks of the Guadalquivir, said in a telephone interview.

“But each year starts earlier than the previous one.”

Suárez Fernández said hardly anyone ventured onto the streets in the afternoon to avoid the high temperatures.

“They lock themselves indoors, stock up on fresh water and go out when night falls,” she said.

The Spanish meteorological agency had warned for several days of the arrival of high temperatures, which reached their maximum on Thursday and Friday.

In and around Madrid, the authorities have worked hard to help hospitals, schools and health centers cope with the situation, including by ensuring they have adequate air conditioning.

They have also opened the outdoor pools, a fixture in the Spanish capital during the summer, a month earlier than usual.

Metro trains will be more frequent to avoid crowds in the scorching heat.

Residents are advised to do so stay hydrated and take care of vulnerable people, such as children and the elderly.

The city of Seville, in the south of the country, it has sent additional medical personnel to help people suffering from heat-related illnesses during the “April Fair,” a week-long fair that kicks off on a Sunday and often attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers.

Images from Spanish television showed many fairgoers standing in the shade in tents.

The heat has also affected neighboring countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Portugal, according to Maximiliano Herrera, a climatologist who tracks extreme temperatures around the world.

“This magnitude is extremely rare in such a large area and for several days in a row,” said Herrera, who described the episode as a heat wave.

“Hundreds of stations are breaking their records by huge margins of up to 5 degrees Celsius above their records and are even approaching May’s records.”

While linking a single heatwave to climate change requires analysis, scientists are in no doubt that heatwaves around the world are on the rise. hotterfrequent and lasting.

Spain was particularly affected by the rising temperatures.

According to a study released this week by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, summer temperatures now last on average nearly five weeks longer than in the early 80s.

Spain experienced its hottest year on record in 2022.

Current high temperatures are likely to exacerbate the situation in a country suffering from a long drought.

The reservoirs are now at 50% of their capacity, the result of over 30 consecutive months of below-average rainfall.

“The persistent dry heat of this spring in the Iberian peninsula is putting a strain on agriculture and, in the medium term, it is possible that we will suffer from water shortages,” Herrera said.

The Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos, an agricultural association in Spain, said in a recent report that the drought has caused “irreversible losses in more than 3.5 million hectares [más de 8,5 millones de acres] of cereals”.

The organization has predicted that wheat and barley crops in four regions are virtually lost.

This week, Luis Planas, Spain’s agriculture minister, said he had asked the European Union for financial aid for drought-stricken farmers, including emergency funds from the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy.

“It’s an exceptional circumstance,” Planas said at a government news conference on Tuesday.

Paqui Doblas, manager of a small hotel in the coastal city of Malaga, said the region’s water supply was insufficient rapidly decliningaffecting the production of fruits such as avocados and mangoes.

Doblas said many Malaga residents have suffered from water shortages in the past and have started saving water in anticipation of heatwaves.

But he said he wished local authorities had taken more precautionary measures.

“I feel a bit like we’re the Titanic band,” he said in a telephone interview.

“The ship sinks and we continue to play.”

Spain’s meteorological agency has warned that the combination of drought and high temperatures is increasing the risk of forest fires, a phenomenon the country is well aware of.

Last summer, dozens of fires raged for days in their territory, displacing thousands of residents and consuming a record 750,000 acres of land, according to data from the European Forest Information System First.

Scientists and local authorities now fear that forest fires always break out earlier.

Last month saw the first major forest fire in Spain in 2023.

c.2023 The New York Times Society

Source: Clarin

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