This is how the climate crisis is transforming winters in Spain

  • Spain enters a warmer and less rainy winter than usual

  • The advance of the climate crisis sows the ground for winters that are less and less cold but with greater risk of extreme meteorological phenomena

Spain enters a warmer and less rainy winter than usual; a winter where, little by little, global warming and the climate crisis begin to transform the typical values ​​of this season. According to seasonal forecast of the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), between December 2021 and February 2022, everything indicates that half the country will have temperatures above normal values of this time of year and the other half will have less rain than expected during this season. In the mediterranean slope and in Baleares, it will most likely be hotter than normal. Meanwhile, in the center of the peninsula and in the Atlantic slope Rainfall is expected to be below the average values ​​of the last decades.

Impossible to say for sure if this prediction is direct result of the climate crisis. But, according to the experts, these values ​​perfectly reflect the Change of trend that has triggered global warming and that in the coming decades could transform the climate as we know it. An analysis carried out by the meteorology team of, for example, explains that the advance of the climate crisis will create warmer and warmer winters, with more days of higher temperatures than normal for the season and with lows far from the typical values ​​of this season. In 2050, the analysis argues, the winters in Madrid and Barcelona could leave around 10 more warm days than usual with respect to the usual values ​​for this time of year.

In a world where global mean temperature has already risen one degree in the last century, and where thermometers could rise two degrees more in just a few decades, Spain is at one of the epicenters of global warming. And this not only implies that, little by little, the heat will transform all the seasons of the year (starting in summers, where extreme heat causes increasing damage). “Climate change also creates a scenario where the perfect ingredients come together so that extreme weather events occur more easily, “he says. Mario Picazo, meteorologist on the team and professor of meteorology and climate change at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Will there be another Filomena?

At the beginning of the year, in January 2021, Spain experienced a storm that lit red notices in much of the country, left unprecedented snowfall at low levels and caused one of the most intense cold waves in recent years. Now that winter is back, many wonder if this season could produce another storm of these characteristics. “The probability that a Filomena in 2022 it is, statistically speaking, unlikely. But if it occurs, the only way to know when it would affect us is by analyzing the meteorological data of the previous days, “says Picazo. Last year, in fact, the alert for the arrival of this storm occurred just a week before Until then, Filomena did not appear in any seasonal prediction.

Everything points to what the advance of the climate crisis will create winters where, on the one hand, the global increase in temperatures will soften the chill of the season and, on the other hand, the heat that permeates the atmosphere will unleash increasingly intense and frequent extreme weather events. According to a study by the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, the number of storms, storms and extreme floods could multiply by three in the next decades. In areas such as the Mediterranean, there is also concern that torrential rains typical of autumn and winter extend beyond the usual seasons. Starting in 2050, it is estimated that extreme weather events that previously occurred once every 100 years will begin to occur every 30 years and will increase in frequency as the century progresses.

In 2021, Picazo explains, the world has already experienced a unprecedented rise of extreme weather events. In February, Texas experienced the most intense cold wave of the last century. Between June and July, Canada suffered an extreme heat wave that left temperatures above 45 degrees and caused dozens of deaths across the country. That same summer, extreme heat also set temperature records across Europe, with 47.9 degrees in Córdoba Y 48.8 degree in the Italian municipality of Floridia, in Sicily. The increase in thermometers was so drastic that, as the citizens of this small town explained then, the heat scorched all the snails in the area and it was about to melt the fruits of lemon and orange trees.

Is it hotter than normal?

In the absence of just a few days for the winter season to be officially inaugurated, in various parts of Spain they are registering atypical temperatures for this time of year. In Barcelona city, without going any further, last week they registered maximum temperatures close to 18 degrees and minimums above 13. But before crossing these values ​​out as a thermal anomaly, and talking about a much warmer month of December than usual, “we will have to wait for the month to end to be able to evaluate all the data “, explains the meteorologist Mar Gomez, from the team. “It is true that we are facing a general trend of increasing temperatures, but a whole month cannot be defined by the perception of a few days,” the expert clarifies.

Related news

According to the official balance of the State Meteorological Agency, last year we lived the sixth warmest and wettest winter of the current 21st century. Between December 2020 and February 2021, an average temperature above seven degrees; about seven tenths above the average reference values. This winter starts, then, with a prediction along the same lines; a warmer winter and increasingly marked by the advance of the climate crisis.

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