In pics: Spain in grip of heatwave with temperatures forecast to hit 44C+
Spain is in the grip of its first heatwave of the year, with temperatures in parts of the west and south expected to reach 44C (111.2F). Heatwaves nowadays are becoming more frequent and are beginning earlier in Spain.
Let's know more.
A heat wave is a period of unusually hot weather that typically lasts two or more days. To be considered a heat wave, the temperatures have to be outside the historical averages for a given area.
A heatwave occurs when a system of high atmospheric pressure moves into an area and lasts two or more days. In such a high-pressure system, air from upper levels of our atmosphere is pulled toward the ground, where it becomes compressed and increases in temperature.
Spain's heatwave last year
Last year also Spain was going through scorching heat. It set a new provisional heat record of 47.4 degrees Celsius as Southern Europe sweltered under a relentless summer sun. Data from Spain's State Meteorological Agency said the potential new record was recorded at Montoro, Cordoba, at 5:10 pm, beating the previous record from 2017 by 0.1 °C.
The heatwave which is the result of the anti-cyclone Alex and a mass of very hot air over north Africa, is expected to last at least until Tuesday and is the third earliest on record. The last time a heatwave arrived this early was in 1981.
Spain’s summer begins between 20 and 40 days earlier than it did 50 years ago. There have been 10 June heatwaves since 1975, five of them since 2011 and, assuming this one lasts three days, over the past 12 years there will have been a heatwave in June every two years.
It follows the hottest May on record, with temperatures last month three degrees above average.
“For the first time we’ve seen eight consecutive years with above-average temperatures”, Del Campo said. “There is a clear trend towards things getting hotter”.
These hot years have not been matched by cold ones. Over the past 10 years, only 14 exceptionally cold days have been recorded, compared with 146 exceptionally hot ones.
Heatwave may lead to more people getting dehydrated and overheated, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing.
Heat exhaustion, dizziness, headaches and heatstroke can also increase. It will also be harder to sleep, with high night-time temperatures.
Elderly people and very young children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat.
Spain’s department of health has warned people to stay indoors as much as possible. People are also urged to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol.
Climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and more intense. Spain's unseasonably warm spring weather is a result of hot air coming from North Africa, causing temperatures to rise by up to 15C above average.
Not just Spain, but many parts of the world are going through scorching heat.
It is high time now to protect our environment and take the necessary measures, otherwise the conditions will only worsen.