Spain is currently stuck in a prolonged drought. More than mirage meteorological conditions brought by heavy rains at the beginning of September, the accumulated rainfall in the last 12 months is 12% below average. A review of the precipitation index of the last three years shows that there will be a drought “from the end of 2022”, according to Aemet.
In the last two years, 230 liters per square meter below the historical average fell on the peninsula, so to recover the normal values, it is necessary to rain at least that amount above the average. “And that happened only once in the entire historical series of records in 1965,” explained the spokesman of the agency, Rubén del Campo. Last September, it rained 150% more than average. The month is “very humid”, according to the Aemet climatological summary, and, however, although it eases the rain deficit, it does not remove the country from the drought problem. Less than the scarcity of available water.
That is to say, it is necessary for autumn and winter to be at least one of the two wettest documented. This seems unlikely, emphasizes the meteorologist.
The decrease in rainfall, which results in less available water resources and more intense rains, such as DANAS in September, is the pattern observed in Spain and which scientists attribute to the change in atmosphere due to climate change.
The current drought mainly affects the southwest area, which consists of more or less the Guadalquivir, Guadiana, and Andalusian Mediterranean basins, and the northeast: the Ebro and Catalunya basins, in addition to the Duero, whose precipitation index is also in the dry range. Similarly, the eastern Canary Islands are showing prolonged drought.
In fact, in Guadiana and Guadalquivir, they experienced the highest lack of rain on record: “This is the highest since at least 1961,” shows the Aemet analysis since it began in spring 2016. Because On the other hand, this prolonged drought is the worst documented in Catalonia (it increases by 2.5 times the intensity in the southern basins) and the second strongest in the Ebro basin.
What is on the horizon?
The long-term forecast for rainfall is still uncertain. Models suggest a 40%–50% chance that the November–December–January quarter will be “rainy,” but at that level of certainty, meteorologists are asking for “a lot of caution.”
What seems more certain is that the temperature will be “higher than normal.” There is a 70% chance. This adds to the recent highly anomalous warm period confirmed in October. The first two weeks of the month were 4.8 oC above normal. The previous record was in October 2017 and was 3.3 oC above average. By 2023, the jump will be 1.5 oC.
In this streak of hot days, 31 days have been recorded with record daily temperatures. In the last ten years, there have been 183 daily warmings and seven colds—one of the most visible symptoms of global warming on the planet. In fact, 2023, in Spain, will be the warmest year, almost the same as 2022.