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Sunday, February 5, 2023

According to preliminary data, the heat wave is the most extreme in Spain since records began

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The heat wave in the Peninsula and Balearic Islands, which theoretically ended on Tuesday, had an anomaly – the deviation between the temperature from which one can speak of a heat wave and that which was eventually reached – “very high” of 4.2 , according to preliminary and preliminary data provided to this newspaper by sources from the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). So far, the strongest wave recorded was that of August 2021, which showed an anomaly of 4.1°. So if the number is confirmed, it would be the most violent heat wave suffered in Spain since 1975 there have been uniform and reliable records for the whole country.

But this episode of extreme temperatures has not only stood out in one of the three parameters that meteorologists use to analyze this type of phenomenon. Not only did it beat the worst intensity, but it also crept into the top 3 of the longest. According to sources from the same agency, although forecasts initially indicated that it would start on Sunday 10th in the Peninsula and Balearic Islands, A posteriori The real data has confirmed that the temperature, extent and duration thresholds that determine the presence of a wave were already exceeded the previous day.

Thus, “this episode started on the 9th and lasts at least until the 18th,” so it lasted at least 10 days, making it the third longest on record. The longest so far was in June and July 2015, which lasted 26 days; the second, from July to August 2003, which lasted 16 years, and the third, from June 2017, nine, which this wave has just surpassed.

The third aspect experts analyze to rank the worst heatwaves is extent. According to Aemet, the day with the most affected provinces was the 15th with 36, but the agency itself admits that the extension will certainly be larger when they have all the verified data from the main network’s 240 stations. Indeed, on the 16th, the agency itself issued 33 provinces with orange warnings “the second level on a scale of three” and red “high alert” in five others, leaving 38 provinces on heat alert for the day.

According to this first tally of the Aemet, this wave also enters the podium of the most extensive, for the time being in third place, where so far there has been a tie between two episodes with 36 provinces – between July and August 2018 and the one in August of last year. In second place there is another tie at 38 ―between the first of this summer and that of July-August 2003―. What doesn’t appear is that it will surpass the largest wave, which dated August 2012 and reached 40 provinces. According to the agency, the warmest day was day 14. This day, 15 of the 17 communities were on alert and Candeleda (Ávila) reached 45.4° and Montoro (Córdoba) and Badajoz 45°.

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In the absence of an in-depth climatological analysis confirming or changing this “preliminary assessment”, the Aemet already considers this wave “extraordinary and historic”, as the forecasts pointed out. “The fact that it creeps into the top 3 of the worst in terms of intensity, duration and extent underlines its exceptional character, because a wave can be noticeable in each of these three variables, but not in all at the same time,” explains agency spokeswoman Beatrice Hervella.

On the other hand, the wave that previously affected the Canary Islands finally covered between days 9 and 11 and in this case the data can be considered definitive. It affected the two provinces, the hottest day was 10 with a peak temperature of the wave – the average of the maximums, not the highest temperature reached – of 37.6 °, and its anomaly was 5.6 °, which “also made it a remarkable one Heatwave,” the same sources said.

The big question meteorologists are now asking is whether the wave is really over or whether a second almost chained one is coming. Thermometers are giving a small truce earlier in the week, with a staggered temperature drop that allowed the agency to end the wave on Tuesday. According to Hervella, this day was the best Cold of the week, Generally in the southern half, while it will be in the northern half this Wednesday, except on the Cantabrian coast where it is expected to be on Friday.

Basically, according to the spokeswoman, since Tuesday less than 10% of the territory has been affected by extreme temperatures, which is one of the thresholds that must be exceeded. But it is possible that later study will show that this barrier was overcome by the minimum. In any case, forecasts indicate that the suffocating heat will spread again from Thursday. The Aemet is monitoring the situation very closely as it is likely that heatwave conditions will return from this day and at least until Sunday. In fact, it remains to be seen whether it will end up being the same long wave, as “two episodes separated by just one day are considered a single heatwave,” Aemet sources explain.

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Source elpais.com

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