ordinary heat

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It seems like a lie. While most of the country is enjoying the long-awaited “thermal relief”, temperatures are already rising in the west of the peninsula. It will not be a very quick blow, but by the weekend Extremadura, eastern Andalusia and some parts of Murcia and Valencia will be above 35 degrees and on Sunday the Guadalquivir, Tajo and Guadiana valleys will already touch 40 degrees. Are we headed for another heat wave?


What do we talk about when we talk about a heat wave? We have had an exhausting summer (the second on the record with the most days of heat waves and the one with the most tropical and equatorial nights); but, along the way, the very concept of a ‘heat wave’ has faded. And it is understandable because, although the definition is clear and simple, we are not talking about a phenomenon that we can directly perceive: it has more to do with our climate history than anything else.

For the AEMET, a “heat wave” is an episode of at least three consecutive days, in which at least 10% of the stations considered register maximums above the 95% percentile of their series of daily maximum temperatures for the months of July and August of the period 1971-2000. That is to say, it is not enough that it is hot, it has to be very hot, for a long time and in a very generalized way.

High temperatures ≠ Heat wave. It is true that, as the heat has become more intense over the years and the reference continues to refer to the temperatures of 1971-2000, it is more and more frequent that we suffer heat waves: history speaks for itself. However, one of these phenomena should not be confused with the fact that it is hot in summer. In other words, after the thermal relief temperatures will rise (there may even be areas of the country where they rise above average), but that does not mean that we are facing a new heat wave.

Will we suffer a new heat wave? It’s not impossible (as we’ve learned in recent years, very few things are impossible in meteorology), but there’s certainly no reason to think so. It is true that temperatures are going to rise, but we would have to find ourselves facing a very powerful event for temperatures to be considered a heat wave. And, in this sense, the change in weather (the storms at the end of August and September) plays in our favor.

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We have more important things on the table. The fundamental one is the drought, in fact. Above all, because it has ceased to be an eminently Spanish problem and has become a continental problem. The lack of rainfall and the decrease in available water resources They have provoked that 47% of the European territory is on pre-alert for droughts and 17% on alert.

It seems like a lie. While most of the country is enjoying the long-awaited “thermal relief”, temperatures are already rising…

It seems like a lie. While most of the country is enjoying the long-awaited “thermal relief”, temperatures are already rising…

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